The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Minnesota-licensed truck driver John Ray Carpenter to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce.
An FMCSA investigation revealed that Carpenter, a commercial driver’s license holder, is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Carpenter, both a driver and the chief executive officer of Hibbing, Minnesota-based Carpenter Brothers Services Inc., which does business as Portable John, was served the federal order earlier this month.
On Oct. 22, 2015, while driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., Carpenter suffered a medical problem, which caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming traffic, collide into a passenger vehicle, and fatally injure the driver.
Following the crash, Carpenter revealed to federal and state investigators that he had experienced a half dozen previous episodes involving medical problems while driving — some resulting in crashes.
In the past four months, investigators also found multiple violations by Carpenter of federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving. On the day prior to the fatal crash in October, investigators found evidence that Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status.
Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.