Tennessee truck driver declared an 'imminent hazard to public safety'

truck crash 3-T.JPGDid you know the federal government has the power to take dangerous commercial truck drivers off the road?

Last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of transportation, took action against a Tennessee truck driver, declaring him to be an "imminent hazard to public safety."

As such, the FMCSA routinely forbids individuals from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

FMCSA's imminent hazard order states that the driver's continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce "substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public if not discontinued immediately."

A rough week in Vermont

The driver in question was licensed in Tennessee, but the incidents that led to his being banned occurred in Vermont. A single four-day period saw this driver get arrested two separate times for alcohol-involved incidents.

Early on December 31, 2016, police in Berlin, Vermont, responding to reports of an incident at a motel parking lot, found the driver asleep in his cab. Failing a Breathalyzer test, the driver was arrested. In addition to DUI, he was charged with domestic assault.

On January 2 the man was released from police custody, but was involved the very same day in a crash. The drive jackknifed his rig, slamming into a stop sign and forcing three cars off the road. Once again he tested positive for alcohol.

Declaring a driver unfit to be on the road is not an uncommon occurrence with the FMCSA. A glimpse at recent news items shows this is happening all over the country:

If a driver fails to comply with a federal imminent hazard order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney's Office for equitable relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties may be assessed for operating a commercial motor vehicle in defiance of the order. Criminal charges may also be levied.

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