The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared school bus driver Jasmine Smith to be an imminent hazard to public safety due to two instances of DUI in two months.
Smith, who holds a Pennsylvania CDL, was found guilty of two DUI violations last September. Then, on Nov. 3, she was driving her school bus when she rear-ended another school bus and struck a nearby vehicle. That incident resulted in four second-offense DUI violations, one count of marijuana possession, and one count of endangering a child’s welfare.
Because Smith refused a sobriety test at the time of the second incident, her license was withdrawn on Dec. 25.
In response, the FMCSA issued Smith an imminent hazard out-of-service order on Tuesday. She was disqualified from operating any commercial vehicle between states for one year, and the notice is posted to her state CDL record as well.
The order states that Smith “(has) failed to exercise an appropriate duty of care to the motoring public when operating a commercial motor vehicle” and her “operation of a commercial motor vehicle substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”
Duane DeBruyne, deputy director of communications for the FMCSA, declined to comment on Smith’s specific case but told STN that any time a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order is issued, it only prevents the individual from interstate commercial vehicle operation. He added that the state that issued the CDL must also get involved to address that individual’s status within the state.
“In most instances when we do declare a driver as an imminent hazard, it’s just to ensure that everything that can be done is being done to prevent an individual from further endangering themselves, the public and anybody else on the highway with them,” he explained.
The order also states that Smith must undergo controlled substance testing, fulfill return-to-duty requirements, be medically evaluated, demonstrate satisfactory commercial vehicle driving skills, provide license and certification documentation, and supply employment information to the FMCSA.
Anyone who continues to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce after receiving a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order is subject to a fine of up to $1,811 per day that they do so, and possible action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.