Truck company owner jailed for allowing drivers to keep separate log books

A judge has sentenced the owner of a trucking firm to six months in jail after one of his drivers was involved in a crash that killed an off-duty OPP officer near Blind River. Ian Fummerton, owner of ABI Trucking, was also sentenced to 18 months probation in connection to the Feb.13, 2014, tragedy. Fummerton, while not driving that night, was found guilty of not ensuring his drivers followed the provincial Highway Traffic Act, which require truckers to rest for a certain amount of time between trips.

In fact, some of his drivers kept separate log books to make it look as though they were following the laws. On the night the officer was killed, the truck driver was completing a 2,800-kilometre run between Thunder Bay and Toronto, and then back again, with just a few hours sleep. The trip should have been done with two drivers to adhere to provincial rules.

Instead, Fummerton allowed the driver to keep one log book for the Thunder Bay to Toronto trip, and another for the return trip. That way, if he was pulled over, he could show documentation that he was following the rules. Fummerton was aware of this, the judge ruled, and three of his four drivers also did the same thing.

A former ABI driver came forward after the accident to say he had done the same run. He would leave Thunder Bay at 10 p.m., drive to Etobicoke, drop off the trailer, sleep three hours, pick up another trailer and drive back to Thunder Bay. “On one occasion when he was on one of these runs, when he arrived in Blind River at 7 a.m., he was forced to change drivers with another driver that came to meet him because he was too tired and too confused to continue on,” the court transcript says.

Another ABI driver pulled over about a year after the accident admitted he also kept two log books and that Fummerton was aware of it and had provided him with both log books. Further investigation showed the company was still allowing drivers to compete the 48-hour run between Thunder Bay and Toronto all alone. In his ruling, the judge made it clear he wasn’t considering whether the truck driver or Fummerton were responsible for the death of the OPP officer.

A separate criminal case is ongoing to determine that. He was ruling whether Fummerton broke the Highway Traffic Act when it comes to giving drivers enough rest between trips. The defence argued that, as a good citizen and business owner with a clean record, he should be given a conditional discharge and probation.

But the judge ruled the offence was serious enough, and Fummerton’s central role, justified a jail sentence. “The circumstances of the offence are serious and aggravating,” the judge wrote. “While it may be in the best interests of Mr. Fummerton, discharge in this case would not be in the public interest … The risk of harm created by his conduct in encouraging and condoning such dangerous practices on the part of his drivers cannot be ignored.”

In addition to jail time, he will be on probation for 18 months after his release.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *