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U.S. Department of Transportation Declares Alaska Motorcoach Driver to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety

FMCSA 42-13
 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Alaska-licensed motorcoach driver Steven Forrest McKinley, II, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. McKinley was served the federal orders June 28, 2013.

“Safety is our highest priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Companies and drivers who willfully violate safety laws will not be allowed to operate.”

On June 14, 2013, McKinley, a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, was operating a motorcoach transporting 46 passengers and their luggage from Seward, Alaska, to Anchorage.  While en route, multiple passengers became concerned for their safety and the safety of others due to McKinley’s apparent intoxication.  Several passengers called 911 to report McKinley’s impaired driving while other passengers asked him to stop the vehicle.  When an Alaska State Trooper arrived at the scene, McKinley was apprehended walking away from the vehicle.  His breath alcohol content was determined to be 0.341.  McKinley was later charged by the state of Alaska with one count of driving under the influence and 46 counts of reckless endangerment.

“FMCSA inspectors and investigators are working shoulder-to-shoulder with our state and local law partners to vigorously enforce commercial vehicle safety regulations,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “It is unacceptable for a bus or trucking company, or any of its drivers, to disregard the law and put the safety of every traveler at risk.”

It is a violation of federal regulations to drive a truck or bus under the influence of alcohol. Federal safety regulations also require truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers to conduct random drug and alcohol testing programs. FMCSA requires these carriers to randomly test 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol and 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs each year.

Truck and bus companies are further required to perform drug and alcohol testing on new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes and when a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.

For each of the past three years, federal and state safety inspectors have conducted approximately 3.5 million random roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and their drivers. In 2012, on 2,494 occasions, or in 0.26 percent of the unannounced inspections, a CDL holder was immediately placed out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption. In 2011, FMCSA records show that there were 2,476 violations of this regulation; in 2010, there were 2,655.

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Friday, July 5, 2013