Falsification of trucking records is more common than you’d think – and it’s a threat to both safety and your bottom line. But what can you do about it?
Most truckers – and most trucking companies – are honest. This piece is about the few bad apples that spoil the basket for everyone. The men and women who are more interested in cutting corners than working towards a job well done.
Misreported timesheets and fake logbooks. Spoofed maintenance reports. Ridiculously long shifts. There are many ways a trucking company might try to falsify records and pull a fast one on both clients and law enforcement – the only thing all these dishonest tactics have in common is that when they’re discovered, the consequences are usually severe.
And they happen more often than you’d think.
Take, for instance, a fatal crash that occurred a few years ago, where it was revealed that a trucker who plowed into several emergency vehicles was near the end of a 36-hour shift. Or another case later that year, where a driver accused his company of forcing him to falsify his trucking logs, forcing him to stay on the road for far longer than was legally allowable.
It isn’t just log hours, either. Everything from medical certifications to weight loads to qualifications to inspections and maintenance can be falsified. Just look at the results of several trucking-related crime investigations, all of which concluded earlier this year.
The fact is that falsification of records is distressingly common in the trucking industry, and is almost always used to cover up negligence by shady businesses.
And for the truckers themselves, there seems to be little recourse. If they don’t comply with an order to tamper with their logs, they could lose their jobs – and the temptation is always there to falsify if they think it will help them avoid liability for an accident.
So what can you as a client – or, perhaps more likely, as a victim – do to protect against this sort of thing?
How can you ensure that the people who should be held accountable are made properly liable? And in the event of a tragic accident, how can you ensure the right people receive punishment?
First thing’s first, there are a few warning signs you’ll want to look out for. If you see even one of these red flags, you might be dealing with fraud:
Have the company’s drivers logged more hours than mathematically possible?
Is the record of duty status of the driver current?
Are all the log times for various trips identical?
Has a driver only logged on-duty driving time?
Do the team logs for different drivers match up?
Of course, there are other signs, which can be difficult to discern on your own. If you think you’re dealing with falsified records, even if it’s benign, it might be worthwhile hiring an experienced attorney to help you along.
Ryan B. Bormaster is the managing attorney at Bormaster Law. The law firm practices in a number of areas but specializes in 18 Wheeler Accidents, Accidents with Commercial Vehicles such as Work Trucks and Catastrophic Injuries of all kinds. They are trial lawyers who will work hard to try to solve your problem out of the Courtroom but who will proudly stand by your side in the Courtroom if justice so requires.