Trucking Company Indicted for Breaking Driver Rules

Trucking Company Indicted for Breaking Driver Rules

A federal prosecutor is charging a Pennsylvania trucking company with running a three-year scheme to avoid federal trucking driver hours of service regulations.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia charged D.A. Landis Trucking of Lancaster, Pa., and its owner, Dean A. Landis, with conspiracy and making false statements. If convicted, the company could face five years’ probation, a $5.5 million penalty and a $4,400 special assessment. Landis could face a five-year prison sentence.

In an indictment, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger alleged the $6 million food and milk hauler kept dual sets of driver logs from 2007 through November 2009. The indictment, available online, says actual logs were kept in files marked “Not 4 DOT” or “No Log” or “No DOT” and stored away from the falsified logs.

Drivers allegedly were instructed or encouraged to drive beyond the 11-hour daily driving limit and dispatched on trips, which required excessive hours of driving. According to the indictment, Landis has about 70 drivers and hauls milk from about 700 individual dairy farms in Southeastern Pennsylvania to dairy processors.

The company’s Web site claims it has offers food-grade liquid, refrigerated and dry van trucking from the Midwest through the East Coast and Southeastern U.S. The trucking company is charged with making false statements by submitting the alleged falsified logs to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspectors.

The indictment cites several incidents where drivers identified only by their initials falsified logs to show they were off-duty when they allegedly were driving.

The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Food and Drug Administration. The prosecution of trucking companies for hours-of-service violations is rare.

One of the best-known cases involved Mark D. Gunther, who went to prison in the 1990s after being convicted for perjury and fraud involving Gunthers Leasing. A federal investigation uncovered thousands of falsified logbooks at the Maryland-based trucking outfit, and Gunther served 30 months in federal prison.

He later established another carrier, Gunthers Transport, which the Federal Motor Carrier Administration shut down in November for logbook violations.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @wbcassidy_joc.