Federal authorities say that drivers were threatened with firing if they didn’t report “No Defects” on trucks that they knew were unsafe. A federal grand jury in Providence has indicted two Rhode Island trucking company owners who allegedly coerced their drivers into falsifying safety inspection reports under the threat of termination.
On Wednesday, Leslie Cucino, 53, and Robert Cucino, Jr., 48, were both indicted on seven counts for conspiracy and making false statements to the government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Their trucking companies, CDE Corporation and Winsor Hill Hauling and Recycling Corporation, were also named in the indictment. A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says that “it is alleged that the owners of CDE and Winsor Hauling directed employees, under threat, including termination, to falsify Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), and not report safety defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safe operation of the vehicle or in a mechanical breakdown.”
Federal authorities say that since March 8, 2009, the trucking company owners “directed and encouraged employee drivers, under the threat of up to termination” to certify that their trucks had “No Defects” on their DVIRs in spite of the fact that the drivers often knew of serious safety violations. The indictment also says that the drivers were urged not to report safety defects even if they had been cited for those defects that same day by state troopers. Much of the companies’ business involved hauling scrap metal to the Port of Providence and various locations in Boston.