The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced Tuesday that it is revoking the commercial driver’s license of a Minnesota truck driver who the agency says poses an imminent hazard to public safety for medical reasons.
The FMCSA said that John Ray Carpenter, a licensed commercial truck driver and chief executive officer at Carpenter Brothers Services, Inc. of Hibbing, Minn., is “medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle” and was served a notice barring him from operating a commercial motor vehicle in Minnesota as well as outside of the state.
According to the agency, Mr. Carpenter was driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., on Oct. 22, 2015, when he suffered a medical emergency that caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Mr. Carpenter’s truck crossed into the path of oncoming traffic and struck a car, fatally injuring the driver.
Following the crash, Mr. Carpenter told federal and state investigators that he had experienced approximately six previous episodes involving medical problems while driving, some of which also resulted in crashes.
Investigators also found multiple violations of federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations by Mr. Carpenter in the past four months. HOS rules govern working and rest cycles for commercial drivers and are designed to prevent fatigued driving. Investigators found that Mr. Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status on the day before the fatal crash in October.
The actions taken by federal regulators to keep Mr. Carpenter from behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle underscore both the importance of medical fitness for CDL holders and the need to comply with HOS rules. Poor driver health and fatigued driving remain two of the major causes of commercial truck crashes, according to Department of Transportation figures.
The FMCSA also said that any CDL holder who violates an imminent hazard out-of-service order may receive civil penalties of up to $2,500 and an extension of his or her disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle by 180 days minimum. Repeat failures to comply with the order can result in steeper fines and a multi-year driving ban as well as criminal charges.