A commercial truck driver licensed in California has recently been deemed to present an “imminent hazard to public safety” due to his history of testing positive for methamphetamines, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced.
According to regulators, the trucker who has been prohibited from operating commercial vehicles “in interstate commerce” has failed multiple drug tests and has failed to complete the required “return-to-duty” process necessary following such failures.
Background on the Trucker’s Violations that Led to the FMCSA Action
As FMCSA authorities have explained, the truck driver at the center of this recent action was deemed to be “medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle” in May 2015, following a federal investigation. In fact, what regulators discovered during and after this investigation was that the trucker had:
- Failed at least separate drug tests since 2012, testing positive for the use of amphetamines or methamphetamines
- Failed an additional drug test following the investigation, in which he also tested positive to methamphetamines.
Although the trucker was banned from operating commercial vehicles following the FMCSA investigation, he reportedly refused to comply with follow-up drug testing and did not finish the required substance abuse program necessary to reinstate his commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Despite these facts, however, the trucker reportedly continued to operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce and, in January 2016, was involved in a single-vehicle truck crash (in which his vehicle veered off the road and smashed into a concrete barrier).
Following that crash, the trucker again refused to submit to drug testing and has failed to comply with the necessary follow-up procedures required by federal regulators. For this second offense in failing to honor the FMCSA’s orders (to not operate a commercial vehicle), the trucker may be penalized with a two-year CDL suspension and at least $5,500 in fines.
FMCSA & Drug Testing for Truckers
The FMCSA action taken in this case reveals regulators’ unflinching focus on getting impaired commercial motorists off of the roads to keep the driving public as safe as possible. As part of this effort, the FMCSA requires that commercial drivers, including truckers, are drug tested:
- During the hiring process
- Following any collision – In fact, while alcohol testing must occur within 8 hours of a crash, drug testing is required to be administered within 32 hours of a collision.
- Randomly (including during off-duty time)
- Whenever there may be reasonable cause to suspect a driver is impaired and/or is using drugs or alcohol
- When CDL holders are returning to duty after a license suspension (including those related to past drug or alcohol use).
Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law
If you have been injured in any traffic crash caused by an impaired or negligent motorist, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.
Call our firm at 866-881-8623 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.