How a trucker gets declared an imminent hazard
Fatal accident involved suspended license, speeding, cell phone use
Long-haul truck driver James H. Patterson has been declared an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On November 13 in Rockingham County, Virginia, a tractor-trailer driven by the Florida-licensed Patterson crossed the center line and overturned onto a passenger vehicle, killing the driver.
State law enforcement authorities have charged Patterson with:
- involuntary manslaughter
- driving while his driving privilege was suspended, and
- possession of a controlled substance
The imminent hazard order finds that Patterson:
- violated federal hours-of-service regulations
- used a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle, and
- was speeding.
“Safety must be the top priority of every driver, particularly commercial drivers who operate large trucks and buses on our public roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Recklessly jeopardizing the safety of the motoring public by violating critical federal safety regulations will not be tolerated.”