U.S. Department of Transportation Declares New Mexico Long-Haul Truck Driver to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared New Mexico-licensed truck driver Bobby C. Cleveland to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Cleveland was served the federal orders May 4, 2013.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are committed to taking unsafe truck drivers who endanger the public off our nation's roads.”
On April 29, 2013, Cleveland, a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, was operating a 2,400 gallon propane tanker truck in McKinley County, N.M., when the vehicle overturned, resulting in the release of hazardous material and the temporary closure of Interstate 40. New Mexico Highway Patrol officers responding to the crash subsequently charged Cleveland with operating the vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating beverage. The police investigation remains open.
“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.”
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 of 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, the number was 2,655.
It is a violation of federal regulations to drive a truck or bus under the influence of alcohol.
Federal safety regulations also require that truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers 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 whenever a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.
FMCSA's imminent hazard out-of-service order for Cleveland is based upon his violation of federal safety regulations.