Under federal regulations, truck drivers must pass extensive medical examinations in order to obtain and preserve their commercial driver’s licenses. Following the recent arrest of Dr. Anthony Lefteris, a chiropractor who was licensed to perform these exams but who federal authorities say did not actually administer the required tests, the fitness of thousands of truckers across the country is now being questioned – some of them may not be fit to drive.
According to federal authorities and a criminal complaint filed in the Northern District of Georgia, Lefteris, who was known in the trucking community as “Dr. Tony,” is being accused with falsifying thousands of medical exams designed to ensure truckers are healthy enough to transport cargo on roads and highways shared by the general public. These exams are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Here are some details about the case and cause for concern:
- Lefteris, who operated alone out of an Atlanta truck stop, issued over 6,500 certificates of good health to tractor-trailer drivers in less than three years. According to authorities, he would perform roughly the same number of exams in one day that other federally licensed medical providers performed in one month.
- Truckers cleared by Lefteris came from all over the country, often by word of mouth between drivers who knew they would not have passed medical exams if they were performed elsewhere. Officials report that he cleared truckers from 43 different states.
- Under rules established by the FMCSA, truck driver exams should take just under 30 minutes and they must include tests that evaluate hearing, vision, and drug usage or substance abuse. Exams also require doctors to determine if truckers have medical conditions that make them a danger behind the wheel and ineligible for a CDL, including diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, and more.
- Following an anonymous tip from a concerned trucker, federal authorities conducted an investigation during which undercover agents were examined by Lefteris. The undercover officers were not given all required tests and two received medical clearance in under 10 minutes. Another undercover officer who claimed to have diabetes – a condition that precludes a person from having a CDL – received a medical certificate on a follow-up visit.
- After Lefteris was arrested, he was removed from the FMCSA registry of approved medical providers and thousands of drivers whom he had cleared were notified that they had 30 days to be reexamined or lose their CDL. This notification was released on January 5th.
To say that Lefteris’ actions were egregious is an understatement, and the criminal charges and penalties he faces (up to 75 years) are a clear indication of how seriously authorities are taking the matter and how significantly he put the public at risk.
While the thousands of truckers cleared by Lefteris will now need to be reexamined, there are still concerns as to whether these drivers have already been involved in crashes as a result of their poor health, and whether they caused injuries or deaths in those wrecks. It also raises questions as to whether all of the affected drivers will be cleared before the deadline, and whether those who are not cleared will again falsify medical certifications or drive without being properly cleared and licensed to do so.
While Lefteris will now potentially be held accountable for his actions, drivers who went to him specifically to obtain fraudulent medical clearance, as well as employers who knew or should have known about the health of their drivers, should also be held accountable in the event that they caused preventable harm while operating a commercial vehicle.
Our Washington, DC truck accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. are currently investigating open cases in order to determine if the truckers involved in crashes had been cleared by Dr. Anthony Lefteris. We also encourage anyone who has been recently harmed in a truck accident, or knows someone who has, to reach out to our team for a free case review. Our lawyers can assess the parties and facts involved in the collision to determine if the crash could have been prevented and whether it may have been connected to a clearance given by Lefteris.
To discuss a truck accident case anywhere in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC, contact us today for a free consultation.