November '21 crash leads to Mexican driver being shut down

Updated Feb 14, 2022
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Drug and license violations led federal regulators to ban a Mexican truck driver from operating in the U.S.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration effectively shut down Mexican-licensed commercial driver (Licencia Federal de Conductor (LF)) J. Rafael Arizaga-Tapia, aka Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, barring him from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce in the United States.

According to FMCSA, on June 24, 2021, Arizaga-Tapia was notified he tested positive for controlled substances. As a result of the positive test, he was prohibited from performing any safety-sensitive function, including operating a CMV. At the time of the positive test, he had a valid LF and a valid Washington state driver’s license.

FMCSA’s review of Arizaga-Tapia’s driver history for his LF and Washington driver’s license revealed prior offenses for speeding, driving under the influence and refused tests. His Washington driver’s license also has an ignition interlock device restriction.

After the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia obtained an LF under the name Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza. It is a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a CMV driver to have more than one driver’s license.

On or about Nov. 12, 2021, Arizaga-Tapia, using the name and LF of Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, was operating a CMV on State Road 97 near Orondo, Washington. The vehicle he was operating failed to negotiate a curve, left the road, crashed through the guardrail and fell into a ravine.

Arizaga-Tapia was in possession of opened and unopened beer cans, FMCSA said, and subsequent blood tests showed a measurable alcohol concentration in his system. At the time of the crash, Arizaga-Tapia’s LF was still listed as prohibited in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.