Federal authorities have barred a California tractor-trailer driver from driving after causing a fatal crash and the driver’s refusal to submit to a urine test.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that Commercial tractor-trailer driver Dharm Lingam posed an “imminent hazard to public safety” as a truck driver.
On Sept. 17, 2017, Mr. Lingam was operating a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 in Pinal County, Arizona, when he lost control of the truck, crossed over the median, and collided with another tractor-trailer. The driver of the second truck was killed in the crash.
Prior to the crash, the Arizona Department of Public Safety received several 911 calls from motorists on 1-10 warning of a tractor-trailer being operated in an erratic and unsafe manner.
Unfortunately, authorities were not able to intercept Mr. Lingam’s tractor-trailer before he crossed over the median and crashed into the other truck.
The FMCSA investigated the crash and discovered that Mr. Lingam had a medical condition at the time of the crash that disqualified him from operating a commercial vehicle across state lines under federal safety regulations.
Investigators also found that Mr. Lingam provided untrue responses to a federal medical qualification questionnaire that he completed and signed just a few weeks before the crash on July 31.
The day after the crash, Mr. Lingam refused to provide a mandatory post-crash urine sample. Under federal safety regulations, refusal to provide a urine sample immediately following a fatal commercial motor vehicle crash is treated as a positive test result and automatically disqualifies the driver from operating a commercial vehicle across state lines.
In its imminent hazard/out-of-service order, the FMCSA stated that Mr. Lingam operating a motor vehicle “… substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death if not discontinued immediately.”
In addition to being barred from driving, Mr. Lingam faces potential civil fines for his violation of federal safety regulations.