FMCSA Declares Texas Driver a Hazard for Drug Use, Hours-of-Service Violations

Federal regulations require employers to perform tests for drugs and controlled substances before hiring employees. Additional testing occurs throughout the year as well, but the tests are random and only pull from a percentage of commercial drivers. Because of this, some drivers take the risk of using controlled substance, endangering themselves and the motoring public.

One such driver, Texas-licensed Steven Wayne Johnson, crashed his commercial motor vehicle (CMV) into a passenger vehicle after his truck crossed the median into oncoming traffic. The accident resulted in three fatalities. State police performed field sobriety tests and obtained blood and urine samples. The samples tested positive for marijuana and PCP.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dispatched investigators of their own and unearthed more troubling information. Johnson was well over federally mandated hours-of-service. This regulation exists to prevent drivers from operating CMVs while tired, which can help reduce fatigue-related accidents. Johnson’s records-of-duty showed he had been on duty for 21 hours prior to the crash. In addition, Johnson was missing a multitude of other records. In the preceding six months, Johnson neglected to record any off-duty time as well.

Because of the drug use and hours-of-service violations, FMCSA issued Johnson an imminent hazard out-of-service order. FMCSA is also debating whether they will file civil charges against Johnson as well for the numerous safety violations. While enforcing safety procedures is no motor carrier’s favorite task, it serves a vital purpose. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, fines, and fatalities. Taking proactive steps to ensure fleet safety is necessary to control costs as well. Contact Three Points Insurance to learn how fleet safety can affect insurance rates, business operation costs, and more.