Category Archives: Regulatory News

MRO Forgery

Medical Review Officer, or MRO forgery. Its hard to believe that a person could think they could get away with forging a doctors signature on a federal document. But here are two women that think its business as usual.

Elizabeth Pope dba Eastgate Laboratory Testing:

On December 10, 2014, the United States District Court of Western Pennsylvania sentenced Elizabeth Pope (dba Eastgate Laboratory Testing) to 4 years probation and to pay restitution ($109,000.00) to a Pennsylvania trucking company for her crimes.

Ms. Pope and her company, Eastgate Laboratory Testing, was operated as a Consortium/Third Party Administrator**. Starting in January 2006 and continuing through March 2012, Ms. Pope and her company forged the MRO’s signature and DOT drug tests. She sent the tests to the trucking company, who is responsible for keeping safe and substance free drivers on the road who believed they were receiving verified MRO  drug test results. She committed these crimes against the trucking company and the motoring public for 6 years!

Read the full decision and order here.

jail

Demetri (Mimi) Dearth dba ASAP (Advanced Substance Abuse Programs)

What is interesting is that we have the same type of case going on in California, with one exception. Dearth’s crimes were so heinous her case was turned over to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to ensure she receives the prosecution she deserves . ASAP,( Advanced Substance Abuse Programs) owned by Demetri (Mimi) Dearth, in Redding, CA has been indicted on similar charges…forging MRO signatures and forging federal drug test results.

Ms. Dearth is due in court early next year (2016). Read the press release from the Office of the Inspector General here. There were 80 trucking companies involved with her fraudulent business that have all been damaged by her greed,  80 companies that paid ASAP and Ms. Dearth and thought they were in compliance with federal regulations. Many of these companies didn’t even know about Dearth’s crimes until their Biannual Terminal Inspection by the California Highway Patrol.

How can you protect your business from this kind of fraud? Get references from other motor carriers or the Motor Carrier Division of your local Highway Patrol. Ask for the MRO’s name, address and phone number. Check the Specimen ID numbers from the labs with the records the MRO has on file. Ask about the labs, are they SAMSHA approved? Ask lots of questions! It’s your responsibility and your livelihood.

Glossary:

DOT – Department of Transportation

PIE – Public Interest Exclusion

NOPE – Notice of Proposed Exclusion

MRO – Medical Revue Officer (doctor)

SAMSHA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

.Consortium/TPA –  Third Party Administrator

** A consortium/third-party administrator is defined as, “[a] service agent that provides or coordinates the provision of a variety of drug and alcohol testing services to employers. C/TPAs typically perform administrative tasks concerning the operation of the employers’ drug and alcohol testing programs. This term includes, but is not limited to, groups of employers who join together to administer, as a single entity, the DOT drug and alcohol testing programs of its members. C/TPAs are not ’employers’ for purposes of this part.” 49 CFR § 40.3

Truck Parking

The DOT just confirmed that the nation has a truck parking problem. Wow, who knew!

I hope you noted the sarcasm there. DOT and FMCSA limit the driving time of truck drivers but the regulations do not take in to account the logistic nightmares drivers encounter.

As a driver, you plan your trip as carefully as you can, taking in to account what big city traffic delays at what times, the delivery time for your load, the hours to drive you have available, the fuel stops on your route. Then all it takes is a very common delay at the shipper. The load the driver was scheduled to pick up at 10AM won’t be ready until 2PM. So all that planning goes out the window. Already behind before even starting, the driver begins to think of where he will be when his driving time is up and he needs to park and sleep. There are stretches of this country where there are NO places to stop and park. Or parking is restricted. Or its full. Or its closed for repairs. Or its closed because that state ran out of money for maintenance. Or its a truckstop that charges you to park. Or its such a dangerous spot you can’t sleep if you do find a parking place.

2013-jasons-law-safe-truck-parking-and-focus-group-presentation-10-638

The survey was done in response to Jason’s Law. Jason’s Law, named after truck driver, husband and father, Jason Rivenburg. He arrived at his delivery location early, he was not allowed to park there so he drove to an abandoned gas station to take a nap. While there he was robbed of $7.00 and murdered. Read the story of the killers conviction here.

Its frustrating that 6 years after the murder, we are still talking about the parking problem. Read the article published in Trucking News here . This is a problem in every one of the 48 contiguous states.

The Department of Transportation and the National Coalition on Truck Parking are chating about the issue. We know its a problem, a big problem. Isn’t it time to stop talking, DOT, and start doing.

Trucking News also has a great article. Click here to read.

DMV Debacle

Six Hundred and two (602) Commercial drivers licenses (CDL)  have been revoked after the U.S. Attorneys office arrested 3 DMV employees and several truck driving school owners. At least 23 accidents have occurred with drivers who obtained their CDL fraudulently.

We know the DMV has “issues” but wow.

At least 2 truck driving schools were involved, Sacramento Truck School and Mid-California Truck School. Did you hire drivers from those schools?

Read an in depth article in the LA Times/PolitiCal written by Patrick McGreevy and Kurt Chirbas. The Sacramento Bee also has a great article.

As we look in to DMV irregularities, more come to light. How about trading designer purses for getting your DUI charge to disappear. Read that story here at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Thank you to the FBI and Attorney General’s office for making these cases a big deal!

 

Annual Inquiry and Review of Driver Records

Are you familiar with the FMCSA regulation, §391.25  that requires carriers to complete an annual inquiry and review of driver records for each driver?

It applies to a carrier with 1 truck or 500 trucks.

The good news is, the FMCSA has amended the regulation (Read it Here) so carriers are allowed to use the Employer Pull Notice report as the annual driver review.

. Many State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) provide ENS that either automatically update requestors (push-system) on license status, crashes and convictions of laws or regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles or allow the requestor to regularly query the record (pull-system) for this information. The use of these systems to check the driving record, at least annually, satisfies the requirement for an annual review of each driver’s record

All carriers in California are required to be enrolled in the Department of Motor Vehicles Employer Pull Notice program. Many other states have a similar program.

After you review,  make sure you sign and date the report!!

secretary is taking notes whie standing next to her desk