FMCSA Declares Kentucky Truck Driver to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Kentucky-licensed truck driver William R. Eichhorn to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Eichhorn, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was served the federal order on May 13, 2016.
On May 5, 2016, while operating a large commercial truck, Eichhorn was stopped by the Kentucky State Police for a roadside inspection in Laurel County, Kentucky. While standing on the steps of the truck, a Kentucky State Police officer observed a woman seated on the passenger side of the vehicle; federal safety regulations prohibit the transportation of passengers in a commercial vehicle without written motor carrier authorization.
The officer also observed two children, a 16-month-old child and a seven-year-old child, in the sleeper berth compartment; neither child was properly secured in a child booster seat or by a child safety restraint device.
Upon further inspection of the truck cab, the officer discovered a gallon jug of beer along with drug paraphernalia, including a smoking pipe. A field sobriety test was conducted at the scene, which Eichhorn failed.
Safety inspectors also found Eichhorn to be in violation of a federal hours-of-service regulation, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Eichhorn states that his “ … blatant disregard of (federal safety regulations) and continued disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.” Eichhorn also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.
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 civil penalties. Civil penalties of up to $3,100 may be assessed for operation of a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal charges.