In March 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared a Houston, Texas-based motor carrier to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety and ordered the motor carrier to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate operations, according to a news release on the FMCSA website.
In February 2022, a driver operating for the motor carrier crashed in Tennessee and killed a Sergeant from the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. The driver did not have a commercial driver’s license, was prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) due to a previous positive drug test, and was arrested for being under the influence of marijuana after the crash.
The FMCSA found the motor carrier to be noncompliant with Federal safety regulations: Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing (49 CFR Part 382); Commercial Driver’s License Standards (49 CFR Part 383); Driver Qualification (49 CFR Part 391); Hours of Service of Drivers (49 CFR Part 395); and vehicle Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance (49 CFR Part 396).
The motor carrier took no action to ensure its driver was eligible to drive or else it would have discovered that the driver was not properly licensed and was prohibited from driving its truck due to a drug test conducted in March 2020 that came back positive for marijuana. In fact, the motor carrier had no safety management controls in place.
In addition, the motor carrier did not have a program to detect and deter the use of controlled substances by its drivers, did not have a program to ensure its drivers were qualified and licensed, did not have a program to control its drivers’ hours of service, and did not have a program to ensure its vehicles were appropriately inspected and repaired.
The FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order stated that the motor carrier’s “…complete and utter disregard for the [federal safety regulations] substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for your drivers and the motoring public if your operations are not discontinued immediately.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $28,142 for each violation, civil penalties of not less than $11,256 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration, and up to $15,876 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT Number registration.
For more than 25 years, ClearStar has helped transportation clients around the globe succeed by providing them with a full suite of transportation industry screening services that include background checks, drug/clinical tests, physicals, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, and FMCSA screening. For more information, contact ClearStar.
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