The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared two commercial truck drivers to be an imminent hazard to public safety due to suspected drug use and one fatal crash, and on March 5 ordered them not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On Feb. 24, Travis Lee Tolliver, a commercial driver’s license holder in Ohio, was operating a tractor-trailer in Wise County, Virginia, when he traveled in the wrong direction along Route 23 for approximately 2 miles before crashing head-on into another vehicle, FMCSA officials said in a press release.
The passenger in the vehicle was killed and the driver was seriously injured. Tolliver was also taken to a hospital where he refused to provide blood for drug testing.
Tolliver was charged by the Commonwealth of Virginia with manslaughter under aggravated circumstances; driving while intoxicated; driving while under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic drug, and; unlawfully, after having been arrested, unreasonably refusing to have a sample of blood taken for chemical tests to determine alcohol or drug content.
Meanwhile, on Feb. 17, Jordan Andrew Bane, a CDL holder in Minnesota, was operating a tractor-trailer in Fair Haven, Vermont, when he underwent a roadside safety inspection conducted by a Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement officer. While asking for Bane’s license and other documentation, the officer detected a strong odor of marijuana; she asked permission to search the truck cab and sleeper berth compartment, and which was granted.
The enforcement officer discovered multiple containers labeled to suggest they contained marijuana. A field test conducted on one of the containers was positive for marijuana. The officer also found an unlabeled pill bottle containing three different types of pills. By using an online identifier, she found all the pills to be Schedule II controlled substances for which Bane did not possess a prescription, FMSCA officials said.
The enforcement officer further found two synthetic urine kits; one opened and used, and the other unopened. Synthetic urine kits are commonly used to avoid a positive controlled substances test.
Bane was issued a citation for possession of a narcotic drug in violation of Vermont State law, and in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s North American Standard enforcement criteria, was ordered out-of-service for 24 hours.
Despite the out-of-service order, less than 24 hours later, Bane was stopped by the same Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement officer, this time in Barre, Vermont, approximately two hours distance from Fair Haven.
Bane has been previously twice convicted by the State of Minnesota for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, and once convicted for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Bane’s and Tolliver’s “blatant and egregious violations of the [federal safety regulations] and disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $1,895 for each violation. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.
Bane may not operate a commercial motor vehicle until he undergoes evaluation by a certified medical examiner and provides evidence he is qualified to return to driving duties.
Tolliver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle until such time he successfully completes the statutorily required return-to-duty process overseen by a Substance Abuse Professional.