Trucking company faces $100,700 in fines

July 30, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A Calipatria-area trucking company and eight of its drivers pleaded guilty to 298 counts of falsifying records and the company will face $100,700 in fines, the California Highway Patrol announced Friday.

The charges against Accu-Chem Conversions Inc., filed in October 2000, were the result of a 14-month investigation of Accu-Chem's Calipatria operation by the Highway Patrol.

After part of the investigation, the Highway Patrol and county District Attorney's Office added 34 misdemeanor counts to the original 298 misdemeanor counts.

The investigation revealed that false entries had been made in log books related to the time drivers spent behind the wheel.


According to state law, drivers are prohibited from driving after having driven 10 hours or after having been on duty for 15 hours.

A driver has to take off eight hours before getting behind the wheel again, the Highway Patrol stated in a press release.

The company, which transports hazardous materials — including flammable liquids and hydrochloric acid — and its drivers agreed to pay fines totaling $100,700. One driver opted for jail time in lieu of the fine.

The company will face a five-year probationary period. The terms of probation include a requirement to install a satellite-based global positioning tracking system in all trucks used by the company.

Records generated from that form of tracking will make it difficult to falsify documents, the Highway Patrol stated.

An attorney for the company was unavailable for comment this morning.

Highway Patrol Officer Robert Kim, a public affairs officer based in San Diego, said the infractions by Accu-Chem were considered severe based on the number of incidents of false record keeping.

He said the law on the number of hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel was established to protect both truck drivers and other motorists.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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