Like any other types of driver, commercial truck drivers can violate traffic laws, as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations that apply specifically to the commercial vehicle industry. When violations occur, truck drivers can receive citations, have their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) temporarily suspended, pay fines, and may even face criminal charges for DUI or similar offenses.
If a truck driver is found to repeatedly engage in dangerous behavior or to act so egregiously that the public is in danger, the FMCSA can seem that driver to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety. This designation can also include an out-of-service order, which bans the driver from ever operating a commercial vehicle in the future and sets out penalties of $2,500 for a first violation and $5,000 for a second. Drivers can also face federal criminal charges for violating this order.
In recent years, the FMCSA gave this designation to a commercial truck driver in Minnesota1 who also was the CEO of a trucking company. The driver in question was behind the wheel when he suffered an adverse medical event, causing him to crash into a car, which killed the driver.
You may think that one medical event that may have been beyond his control should not be enough to ban him from the trucking industry. However, upon investigation, the FMCSA learned that the driver had experienced six prior medical events while driving, some that caused him to crash. Therefore, the driver was well-aware of his health problems and continued to drive despite the risks. In addition, the driver was found to have violated FMCSA hours of service regulations,2 which can lead to fatigued driving, and to have falsified records regarding hours of service.
It is frightening that some truck drivers are willing to engage in such dangerous behavior that they become an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety. The truck accident lawyers at McEwen & Kestner, PLLC are committed to holding dangerous truck drivers fully liable for the injuries and losses of accident victims. Call for a free consultation at 800-732-3070.