Over the past year, United States courts, with support from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have increasingly handed out jail time for logbook violators.
Although Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has requested state law enforcement officials to go easy on drivers during the first 60 days of implementation of new hours-of-service rules, many industry observers say they expect FMCSA to continue its encouragement of strict enforcement of the rules after the honeymoon period.
“FMCSA has said they will enforce the rules to the letter, and I believe them,” said one carrier official.
A truck driver who crashed his vehicle into a funeral procession in 2001, killing two people, pleaded guilty to falsifying logbooks and will be sentenced in April.
As part of a plea bargain, Stanley Waddy, 37, of Richmond VA, admitted to 10 counts of lying to federal authorities about how long he was driving without a rest and faces jail time for these violations.
He was arrested when his truck hit a car carrying flowers in funeral near Philadelphia PA, triggering a six-vehicle wreck. A Wilmington DE couple died in the incident.
In another case, the US District Court in Philadelphia on December 16 ordered Robert J McClafferty, a truck driver for Onetlaunee Transport Services in Kempton PA, to serve 10 months in prison for falsifying his logbook, according to the US Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General.
In a statement, the OIG said: “McClafferty is one of seven Ontelaunee truck drivers who pleaded guilty to falsifying the entries to conceal the fact that they were driving over the maximum number of hours allowed under FMCSA regulations, thereby jeopardizing public safety. He pleaded guilty on September 8.”