WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Utah-licensed truck driver Eddie D. Price to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Price was served the federal order on October 12, 2016.
On September 9, 2016, Price, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, completed a USDOT-required pre-employment controlled substances test, the result of which was verified as positive for methamphetamine on September 13, 2016.
One day after the controlled substances test was confirmed as positive – September 14, 2016 – Price operated a commercial motor vehicle in Utah and was involved in a crash with a pick-up truck. Both the driver and the passenger of the pick-up truck suffered severe injuries and were airlifted to a Salt Lake City-area hospital.
Following the crash, Price’s then employer (Superior Service Transport) provided him with a list of substance abuse professionals (SAP) and information on the federally required return-to-duty process for positive-testing CDL holders, including a required SAP evaluation and the completion of a SAP-recommended education and/or treatment program. Price refused to complete the mandatory return-to-duty process and, subsequently, Superior Service Transport terminated his employment.
On October 4, 2016, Price informed Superior Service Transport that he found another driving position. Price also stated that he did not intend to tell future employers about the positive test or include his former employer on employment applications.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Price’s “…continued operation of a CMV in interstate commerce poses an imminent hazard…(as) you fail to exercise an appropriate duty of care to the motoring public.” Additionally, the order states that Price “ignore(s) the (federal safety regulations), including the prohibitions on operating a CMV after having tested positive for controlled substances and failing to comply with the mandatory return-to-duty process.” Price also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.
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 $1,782 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.
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