A New Mexico-licensed truck driver has been found to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has been ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Bobby C. Cleveland, a commercial driver’s license holder, was served the federal orders earlier this month. On April 29 of this year, Cleveland was operating a 2,400-gallon propane tanker truck in McKinley County, N.M., when the vehicle overturned, resulting in the release of hazardous material and the temporary closure of Interstate 40.
New Mexico Highway Patrol officers responding to the crash subsequently charged Cleveland with operating the vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating beverage. The police investigation remains open.
For each of the past three years, federal and state safety inspectors have conducted approximately 3.5 million random roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and of their drivers. In 2012, on 2,494 occasions — 0.26 percent of the unannounced inspections — a CDL holder was immediately placed out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption. In 2011, FMCSA records show that there were 2,476 violations of this regulation; in 2010, the number was 2,655.
Federal safety regulations require that truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers conduct random drug and alcohol testing programs. FMCSA requires these carriers to randomly test 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol and 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs each year.
Truck and bus companies are further required to perform drug and alcohol testing on new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes and whenever a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.