The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Arkansas-licensed truck driver Jeffery Scott Mitchell to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Mitchell was served the federal order on December 14, 2018.
During five separate roadside safety inspections within the last nine months, Mitchell, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, has been cited and taken into custody by law enforcement officers in Arizona, California, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee with either being under the influence of, or in possession of, a Schedule I controlled substance.
During these unannounced safety inspections, Mitchell was also cited for multiple violations of operating a CMV without a valid CDL, multiple records-of-duty status violations, and an instance of failing to obey a traffic control device.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Mitchell states “Your blatant and egregious violations of [federal safety regulations] and drug and alcohol regulations and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public.”
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 $1,848 may be assessed for each day a CMV is operated in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Mitchell also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the Agency’s safety regulations.