The U.S. Department of Transportation has declared Georgia-licensed truck driver Christopher Speyrer an imminent hazard for instances of drug use and an alcohol-related accident.
In October 2016, Speyrer placed an emergency call for medical assistance at a truck stop in Greenwood, La., from the cab of his truck. While being transported to a hospital by ambulance, he told emergency personnel that he had been using a Schedule II controlled substance. He also admitted to using the same substance earlier in the week and had not slept for the five previous days as a result. Despite this, he continued to operate his truck.
A little more than a month later, Speyrer was responsible for a multi-vehicle chain reaction crash when he struck the rear of a car that had stopped due to traffic conditions. A Virginia court found him guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
For these violations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is ordering Speyrer not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, saying that his driving “substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to [himself] and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”
Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties of up to $1,782 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Speyrer also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.