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July 8, 2013

FMCSA declares Alaskan coach driver an imminent hazard

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared Alaska-licensed motorcoach driver Steven Forrest McKinley II, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. McKinley was served the federal orders in late June.

Safety is our highest priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Companies and drivers who willfully violate safety laws will not be allowed to operate.”

On June 14, McKinley, a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, was operating a motorcoach transporting 46 passengers and their luggage from Seward, Alaska to Anchorage. While en route, multiple passengers became concerned for their safety and the safety of others due to McKinley’s apparent intoxication. Several passengers called 911 to report McKinley’s impaired driving while other passengers asked him to stop the vehicle. When an Alaska State Trooper arrived at the scene, McKinley was apprehended walking away from the vehicle. His breath alcohol content was determined to be 0.341. McKinley was later charged by the state of Alaska with one count of driving under the influence and 46 counts of reckless endangerment.

It is a violation of federal regulations to drive a truck or bus under the influence of alcohol. Federal safety regulations also require truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers to conduct random drug and alcohol testing programs. FMCSA requires these carriers to randomly test 10% of their CDL drivers for alcohol and 50% of their CDL drivers for drugs each year.

Truck and bus companies are further required to perform drug and alcohol testing on new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes, and when a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.

RELATED: "MAP-21 Impacts Motorcoach Safety, Planning Role."

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