Justice prevails against a motor carrier who was a habitual double-broker. Dragan Simovski, Operator, Freedom Transportation, Inc., was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Chicago, Illinois, to 36 months incarceration, 36 months supervised release, and was ordered to pay $532,000 restitution in connection with an illegal double-brokering scheme. Simovski pleaded guilty on December 12, 2014, to wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
Simovski admitted that he and other individuals were involved in a fraudulent double brokering scheme, where they falsely represented that Freedom Transportation would use its own trucks to transport freight, knowing that Freedom had no trucks. As part of the scheme, Simovski would enter into contracts with companies on behalf of Freedom, promising to transport freight for those companies. Simovski provided information about the freight loads to a co-conspirator broker knowing that the broker would find other companies to transport and deliver the freight.
Simovski and his co-conspirator agreed that Freedom would bill the customers as if they had kept and performed the jobs, knowing that in many instances, they would not pay the companies that actually did the work. The loss to the companies that actually delivered the freight is approximately $532,000.
Des Moines Truck Brokers utilizes an exclusive carrier qualification process which includes a step called TIA Watchdog, a reporting system for unethical activities within the supply chain. TIA members filed four separate reports against Freedom Transportation for unauthorized re-brokering of shipment. A simple search by your DMTB Account Manager in Watchdog can save you money and headaches.
DMTB applauds the U.S. District Court of Illinois and the United Postal Inspection Service, who assisted in the investigation. TIA has been a leader in eradicating illegal double-brokering from the industry, and worked with other industry leading associations and Congress to put stronger penalties and regulations in place to protect legitimate brokers and shippers.
April is National Distracted Driving Month. Every year, thousands of people are killed in crashes related to distractions.
There are three main types of distraction that affect human capability whether you are talking with a friend, walking to class or driving down the street. A person’s best focus comes into play when they are manually engaged (doing something with your hands or feet) visually engaged (looking at what you’re doing) and cognitively engaged (focusing your mind). Think about it for a second can you play soccer well if you are not looking at what you’re doing on the field? Can you use a saw in shop class safely if you don’t have both hands engaged? Why do you think fans in the crowd holler when the opposing team goes up for a free-throw?
Distractions are everywhere, but one of the most dangerous places to be distracted is in the car. We can all think of examples of distracted driving. Things like eating, drinking, using a cellphone, talking to passengers, using a GPS, adjusting the radio or even day dreaming are all considered driving distractions. Since sending a text requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
• Nearly 1 in 4 crashes involves a distracted driver. (National Safety Council)
• At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has steadily increased since 2010.
• One study found that the odds of a crash or near-crash in newly licensed teen drivers was more than 8 times greater when dialing a cell phone. (SAFE KIDS)
• Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
Isn’t it time we all Get our heads out of our Apps? Yes, this is tongue in cheek but please help eliminate distracted driving by keeping our eyes and minds on the road.
Be safe out there,
Driving a truck can make healthy living a difficult challenge but not impossible. A lack of physical activity and fast food dining can add up to a health risk at any age.
Make Healthy Fast Food Choices
Stick to these simple ground rules:
- Eat a variety of foods in moderate amounts.
- Use less salt on your food. Carry seasonings (like Mrs. Dash) in your cab so you can add extra flavor without the extra salt.
- Avoid foods labeled jumbo, giant, and super-sized. Larger portions mean more calories. Order a regular or junior portion instead.
- Choose grilled or broiled sandwiches with meats like lean roast beef, turkey or chicken breast.
- Request that special sauces or added dressings be left off your order, and add lots of veggies to the mix.
- Skip the croissant or biscuit in favor of a bun, bread or English muffin.
- Fill up at the salad bar if available, but beware of thick, creamy dressings.
- When eating Mexican food, order bean burritos, soft tacos, fajitas and other items that are not fried. Chicken is better than beef, especially with the addition of lettuce, tomatoes and salsa. Limit refried beans, and go easy on cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Watch out for fried tortilla shells! A taco salad can have more than 1,000 calories.
- Pizza can be a good choice. Order thin crust pizza with veggie toppings, start with a salad, and limit yourself to one or two slices of pizza.
- Avoid these traps: fat-free muffins with plenty of sugar, skinless fried chicken contains a lot of fat, Chinese food that is deep fried or high in sodium and fat.
Controlling High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease, as well as preventing you from passing your Department of Transportation (DOT) physical. The DOT requirement for blood pressure is 140/90 mm/hg.
To keep your blood pressure under control, try the following tips:
- Talk with your healthcare professional.
- Take any medications as prescribed. If you do not understand how to take the medication, ask questions.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat in heart healthy ways: plenty of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products. Moderate your total fat intake.
- Limit sodium to no more than 2400 mg, or about one teaspoon of salt per day.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. For men, moderate use is two drinks daily, for women, one drink.
- Strive to be active a minimum of 30 minutes every day, with brisk walking or cycling. Two 15 minute periods is fine if you do not have a 30-minute block of time.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and several forms of cancer.
- Avoid caffeine, a stimulant which can raise your blood pressure. Coffee, tea and soda all have large amounts of caffeine.
Exercising on the Road
- Check with your doctor before you start an exercise program if you have not been active, or are at risk for heart disease or other chronic health problems.
- Choose activities you enjoy. If you cannot find a place outdoors to walk, stash a few weights in your truck and work out in the cab.
- Carry a jump rope with you. It takes up little space and can be done almost everywhere.
- Make your workout a habit you do daily, or every other day.
- Play music to keep you entertained as you work out.
- Surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you and keep you motivated.
- Don’t overdo it. Many people give up exercise after a few days because they have overworked, sore muscles.
- Reward yourself for your progress, whether it is weight loss or keeping up your new habit.
Know Heart Attack and Stroke Warning Signs
Coronary heart disease is America’s #1 killer, and stroke is #3. Be prepared to help if these symptoms should occur in yourself or someone else. Most important: Quickly dial 911. Every second counts in an emergency, so do not wait more than five minutes to call for help. Many people can benefit from medications and treatments unavailable in the past. For example, clot busting drugs can stop some heart attacks or strokes in progress, if given quickly.
Heart Attack Warning Signs:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks start with discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. You may feel uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Upper body discomfort. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach should all be alerts. Women should note that they may have different symptoms than men, such as less chest pain and more of other symptoms.
- Shortness of breath, which may occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Cold sweat.
Stroke Warning Signs:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
On Thursday, Feb. 26, Congressman John Duncan (R-2nd/TN) along with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-13th/IL), Congressman Richard Hanna (R-22nd/NY), Congressman Mark Meadows (R-11th/NC), and Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-3rd/MN), introduced H.R. 1120, a bill that would enhance interstate commerce by creating a national hiring standard for motor carriers.
H.R. 1120 is the reintroduction of the legislative language that was introduced in the 113th Congress last year. The Bill would require that before hiring a motor carrier, a shipper, broker, forwarder, and/or receiver ensure that the motor carrier is:
- Properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
- Has obtained the minimum insurance; and
- Has not been given an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.
The national hiring standard would clarify and standardize industry best practices for hiring safe motor carriers. Currently, industry stakeholders are often asked to second-guess the FMCSA on determining which carriers are safe to operate and those that are not. Congress tasked the FMCSA with evaluating motor carrier safety and empowering them with the sole authority to revoke the interstate operating authority of unsafe motor carriers or otherwise place unsafe motor carriers out-of-service and off the road.
Additionally, H.R. 1120 would remove the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier. TIA will continue to advocate that the CSA initiative is a valuable internal tool for the Agency, but until the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rulemaking is complete, the BASIC data should not be used as a tool for carrier selection. The FMCSA safety rating should be, and is, the ultimate determination, if a carrier is safe to operate or not.
DMTB applauds Congressmen Duncan, Davis, Hanna, Meadows, and Paulsen for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation. The current flawed CSA program has increased the threat of negligent selection lawsuits and is preventing many good player from participating in the market. In the current marketplace, every time a shipper, broker, forwarder, or receiver hires a carrier, they are essentially forced to gamble with their livelihood. As a result of CSA, DMTB has taken Carrier selection very seriously and we have been forced to eliminate many carriers from our customers freight. The national hiring standard reinforces the original safety rating and licensing process previously established by FMCSA. This bill will help small business and improves the overall safety of the transportation industry.