A Texas truck driver has been placed out of service by the U.S. Department of Transportation following a crash in which three people died. Following the November accident, Steven Wayne Johnson tested positive for marijuana and PCP, and was found to have had numerous hours-of-service violations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared Johnson to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Johnson was served the federal order on Dec. 16.
The FMCSA stated in a news release:
“On November 15, 2016, Johnson, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was operating a CMV along Interstate 70 near Junction City, Kansas, when his truck crossed the median and crashed head-on into a passenger vehicle. In all, three people were killed.
“Immediately after the crash, a Kansas Highway Patrol drug recognition officer conducted field sobriety tests. In addition, urine and blood samples were collected. The blood sample collected from Johnson tested positive for cannabinoids (marijuana) and phencyclidine (PCP), both of which are controlled substances under 21 U.S.C. 1308.
“In examining Johnson’s records-of-duty-status for November 15, 2016, and in the days leading up to the crash, FMCSA investigators found that Johnson was in violation of multiple federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving. Prior to the crash, records showed that Johnson had been on-duty and driving for a minimum of 21 hours. In reviewing Johnson’s records-of-duty-status covering the previous six months, 70 of 160 records were missing, and during that period, Johnson did not record any off-duty time.”
FMCSA is also considering civil penalties for the safety violations discovered during the investigation and may refer this matter for criminal prosecution.