The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a lot of power over the truckers and trucking companies in the United States. At any given point they can put a single driver, or entire fleet, out of business and take them off the road if they pose an imminent hazard to public safety. That is what recently happened to a driver in Tennessee, and it could happen to your company as well.
When the FMCSA took the Tennessee driver off the road, he was relatively new to the profession. He only just received his CDL in 2016, and then ordered to relinquish it in January of 2017. What happened to him in losing his license is what happens in a lot of cases. He was caught driving while being suspected of recently drinking.
Drinking a Driving: a Bad Idea
This man’s first incident was logged by the police when they responded to a domestic abuse call to a hotel. When the police got there they found the driver in the cab of his truck, and detected the smell of alcohol on his breath. He was arrested for domestic assault, and the entire incident, including the details of drinking, were part of his record.
The next incident, and the one which involved the FMCSA, happened the day after he was released from custody. The driver was in a multi-car accident where he was driving his tractor trailer. The truck took out a stop sign, and forced three other drivers off the road. When the police arrived on scene they again detected alcohol on the breath of the driver, and that was the end for him. Effective two weeks later he was deemed an imminent hazard to the public, and his credentials were pulled.
Other Ways to Get Suspended From Driving
This case was a no brainer for the federal government to step in and pull a CDL. But other cases are not so cut and dry. A truck driver and company can lose their ability to transport goods on public roads for more reasons than drinking and driving, for example:
- Failing one or more safety inspections by the FMCSA;
- Violating one or more of the hundreds of federal regulations;
- Failing to comply with drug and alcohol policies;
- Failing to keep licenses and other credentials up to date; and many more.
These are just a few of the ways in which a company can lose its ability to transport goods from one place to another, and that is where all the money is for transportation companies.
Once the FMCSA issues an order telling either a driver or a company to stop working they also have the ability to enforce that order. The primary vehicle the agency will use is through civil fines and penalties that will add up quickly. Each instance of violating a stop work order could result in a penalty of up to $3,100. And if a driver or company knowing violates one of these orders, then they could be brought up on criminal charges.
Some of the regulations that your company must comply with to stay on the road are easy to know and keep. But with the other hundreds of regulations and rules that exist you may need legal counsel to help you understand what you are dealing with. At Anderson and Yamada we have decades of experience guiding, counseling, and representing trucking companies and we want to do the same for you. Contact us today.