Tennessee truck driver pronounced an imminent hazard to public safety by FMCSA

Drugs, alcohol discovered in truck cab after crash

Posted May 10, 2016

On May 6, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared a Tennessee-licensed truck driver to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered the driver not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The driver was served the federal order on April 21, 2016. The driver also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for violation of the agency’s safety regulations.

On March 17, 2016, while operating a combination tractor-trailer vehicle in North Georgia, the driver made an illegal turn across traffic resulting in a crash with a passenger vehicle, which subsequently became wedged underneath the trailer, hospitalizing the driver.

Georgia State Patrol officers responding to the crash found an open box of beer and several open beer cans in the truck cab. A field sobriety test detected the presence of alcohol. The officers also discovered a bag of heroin, a syringe and needle, and several pills of the prescription medication Xanax wrapped in plastic and hidden under the seat. It was further revealed that the driver was in violation of multiple federal hours-of-service regulations.

Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for equitable relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties of up to $3,100 may be assessed for operation of a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal charges.

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