FMCSA Declares Unlicensed North Carolina Truck Operator to be an Imminent Hazard
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Jean Lafortune, Jr., of North Carolina to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Lafortune was served the federal order on July 22, 2021.
On three occasions, Feb. 17, 2021, in Connecticut; March 4, 2021, in South Carolina; and March 10, 2021, in New York, the commercial motor vehicle Lafortune was operating was stopped for an unannounced roadside safety inspection.
In every instance, state law enforcement officers discovered Lafortune did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and had no record-of-duty-status as required by federal safety regulations. Further, in every instance, officers found containers of alcoholic beverages in Lafortune’s truck cab, a violation of federal law. At the scene In each instance, Lafortune was placed out-of-service. During the roadside safety inspection in New York, the officer additionally found several mechanical defects and placed the vehicle out-of-service.
In a blatant and egregious disregard of federal safety regulations – and of the safety of the motoring public – despite being placed out-of-service in three states in less than three weeks, Lafortune continued illegally driving a commercial truck in interstate commerce.
On July 9, 2021, while operating in Pennsylvania, Lafortune’s truck became stuck while attempting to turn around on private property. The investigating state police officer again discovered Lafortune did not possess a valid CDL and had no record-of-duty-status. Lafortune was placed out-of-service. The truck he was operating was also placed out-of-service for several safety violations.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Lafortune’s “disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $1,951 for each violation. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.
Lafortune also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceedings brought by FMCSA for violations of the Agency’s safety regulations.