The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has banned a commercial driver from interstate commerce over repeated violations. The federal agency has declared Jean Lafortune Jr., of North Carolina, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
Lafortune was served with the federal order on July 22, 2021, according to the FMCSA.
The agency says the order is based on three occasions in three different states that Lafortune was stopped during an unannounced roadside safety inspection while driving a commercial vehicle. They occurred on Feb. 17, 2021, in Connecticut; March 4, 2021, in South Carolina; and March 10, 2021, in New York.
Commercial driver’s license invalid
During each of these inspections, law enforcement officers discovered Lafortune did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and had no record-of-duty status as required by federal safety regulations.
Officers found containers of alcoholic beverages in Lafortune’s truck cab, a violation of federal law. Each time, Lafortune was placed out-of-service. During the roadside safety inspection in New York, the officer additionally found several mechanical defects and placed the vehicle out-of-service.
In what the FMCSA describes as a “blatant and egregious disregard” of federal safety regulations — and of the safety of the motoring public — despite being placed out-of-service in three states in less than three weeks, Lafortune continued illegally driving a commercial truck in interstate commerce.
On July 9, 2021, while operating in Pennsylvania, Lafortune’s truck became stuck while attempting to turn around on private property. The investigating state police officer again discovered Lafortune did not possess a valid CDL and had no record-of-duty status.
Driver, truck placed out-of-service
Lafortune was placed out-of-service, and the truck he was operating was also placed out-of-service for several safety violations.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Lafortune’s “disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $1,951 for each violation. They may also result in criminal penalties.
Lafortune also may be subject to civil penalty enforcement proceedings brought by FMCSA for violations of the agency’s safety regulations.