WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Florida-licensed truck driver James H. Patterson to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On Nov. 13, a tractor-trailer operated by Patterson in Rockingham County, Virginia crossed the center line and overturned onto a passenger vehicle, killing the driver. State law enforcement authorities have charged Patterson with involuntary manslaughter, driving while his driving privilege was suspended, and possession of a controlled substance. The imminent hazard order finds that Patterson violated federal hours-of-service regulations, used a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle, and was speeding.
“Safety must be the top priority of every driver, particularly commercial drivers who operate large trucks and buses on our public roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Recklessly jeopardizing the safety of the motoring public by violating critical federal safety regulations will not be tolerated.”
“There will be no pause, no diminishment of our continuing, vigorous efforts to prevent unsafe commercial drivers from getting behind the wheel and endangering the public,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Every truck and bus company and every driver they employ should have no doubt that we will vigorously enforce all federal safety regulations to the fullest extent possible by law.”