South Carolina trucker declared an imminent hazard to public safety

Driver allegedly hid evidence, falsified duty status record

Posted March 21, 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared a South Carolina-licensed truck driver to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The declaration follows his involvement in a fatal crash that occurred last month along Interstate 77 in Chester County, South Carolina. The driver, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was served the federal order on February 25, 2016.

According to FMCSA, on February 8, 2016, at approximately 3:10 a.m. EST, the driver’s commercial truck struck the rear of a Ford Explorer, causing the vehicle to run off the roadway and overturn, fatally injuring one of the occupants.

Furthermore, FMCSA says after striking the Explorer, the driver fled the scene of the crash. He later discarded the front bumper of his commercial truck before completing the delivery of an intermodal shipping container to Jonesville, North Carolina. The following day, the driver returned to his employer’s terminal in Charleston, South Carolina, and reported that his truck had struck a deer; he subsequently had the front bumper of his commercial truck repaired.

A subsequent investigation by South Carolina and FMCSA investigators found that on the day of the fatal crash, the driver had falsified his record-of-duty status to show that he had been in Charleston, when in fact he was in Chester County, South Carolina. On February 11, 2016, South Carolina law enforcement personnel identified the driver as the person involved in the hit-and-run crash.

While operating a commercial motor vehicle in the preceding eight months, the driver had been involved in two additional crashes. In November 2015, the driver made an improper lane change and struck the rear of a vehicle on Interstate 26 in North Charleston. In July 2015, the driver failed to slow for stopped traffic on Interstate 77 near Mooresville, North Carolina, colliding into the rear of another vehicle.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that the driver’s “…continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


 

Motor Carrier Safety ReportJ. J. Keller's Motor Carrier Safety Report keeps you current on federal and state compliance information that impacts your drivers, trucks, and bottom line.

 

J. J. Keller's FREE Transportation SafetyClicks™ email newsletter brings quick-read safety and compliance news right to your email box.

Sign up to receive Transportation SafetyClicks™.