North Carolina trucking company sentenced over faking HOS

By Land Line staff | Friday, October 19, 2012

A North Carolina trucking company has been sentenced for its role in a scheme to falsify truck drivers’ hours of service records.

Larry Morris Trucking was sentenced on Oct. 10 in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, NC, to five years of probation for making false statements, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

According to FMCSA’s Comprehensive, Safety, Accountability (CSA) records, the company was not in “alert” status in the Fatigue Driving BASIC – the category designed to track hours of service compliance. Rather, it had a compliance ranking of 54.6 percent, below the 60th percentile ranking that triggers interventions by the agency.

The company also only had one tow-away, no injury or fatality crash in the past 24 months. The agency’s records do not reflect fault in crash reporting.

CSA has been under immense scrutiny over the past several months, first within the trucking industry and now in Congress. Two hearings – one in the Senate and one in the House – have highlighted concerns of inaccurate data, what is believed to be arbitrary measurement systems and a lack of due process to name a few.

The CSA program is ultimately design to automate the process in which noncompliant motor carriers are selected once their safety ranking pass a tolerance threshold in each BASIC, which in the case of Larry Morris Trucking would have been the 60th percentile in the fatigued driving BASIC. Once those thresholds are crossed, the agency can select from a variety of “interventions” – up to and including full-blown on-sight investigations.

In spite of the company’s CSA records, it was investigated by the DOT Office of Inspector General. That investigation revealed drivers’ records were faked to show legal driving times and hide the actual number of hours the company’s drivers were behind the wheel.

On June 20, Larry W. Morris, president and owner of the nine-truck operation, entered a guilty plea for the hours of service scheme.

As part of the plea agreement, the company agreed to install and maintain a computerized monitoring device on all trucks owned and operated by Larry Morris Trucking.

The investigation was handled by both the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General and FMCSA.

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