FMCSA Declares Virginia 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 Virginia-licensed truck driver Carlos Alberto Garcia to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On June 24, 2017, Garcia was operating a large commercial truck along Interstate 495 outside of Washington, D.C., when, at approximately 3:50 p.m., he drifted into a caution-striped, paved median area striking two individuals who had stopped their vehicle to re-secure a boat to a trailer they were towing. One individual was killed and the other was seriously injured.
An investigation by Virginia State Police found that Garcia had been in egregious violation of federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigued driving. Specifically, at the time of the crash, Garcia had been on-duty and driving for more than 103 hours over the previous eight days – with only a single 10-hour off-duty period taken.
Roughly 19 hours earlier, on June 23, 2017, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Garcia crashed a different large commercial truck he was operating into the rear of a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) bus that resulted in injuries.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Garcia’s continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle "… substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately."
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 $1,811 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Garcia also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.