FMCSA Declares Mexican-Licensed Driver an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Mexican-licensed commercial driver (Licencia Federal de Conductor (“LF”)) J. Rafael Arizaga-Tapia a/k/a Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety and ordered him to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle (“CMV”) in interstate commerce in the United States. Arizaga-Tapia was served the Federal order on February 4, 2022.
On June 24, 2021, Arizaga-Tapia was notified he tested positive for controlled substances. As a result of the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia was prohibited from performing any safety-sensitive function, including operating a CMV. At the time of the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia had a valid LF and a valid Washington State driver’s license. FMCSA’s review of Arizaga-Tapia’s driver history for his LF and Washington driver’s license revealed prior offenses for speeding, driving under the influence, and refused tests. His Washington driver’s license also has an ignition interlock device restriction. After the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia obtained an LF under the name Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza. It is a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSRs”) for a CMV driver to have more than one driver’s license.
On or about November 12, 2021, Arizaga-Tapia, using the name and LF of Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, was operating a CMV on State Road 97 near Orondo, Washington. The CMV he was operating failed to negotiate a curve, left the road, crashed through the guardrail, and fell into a ravine. Arizaga-Tapia was in possession of opened and unopened beer cans and subsequent blood tests showed a measurable alcohol concentration in his system. At the time of the crash, Arizaga-Tapia’s LF was still listed as prohibited in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Arizaga-Tapia’s “blatant and egregious violations of the FMCSRs, and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of not less than $3,268. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.
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