Four-state enforcement blitz ongoing | South Dakota owner-op shut down by FMCSA for drug, CDL violations

Updated Dec 8, 2021

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Dec. 6, 2021:

Four-state commercial vehicle enforcement effort ongoing this week

Police in four states along I-94 will be stepping up enforcement this week.

Law enforcement in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana are staging "Eyes on 94," a coordinated operation aimed at commercial motor vehicles, running Monday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 10.

According to the Michigan State Police, during this initiative, motor carrier officers will focus on violations by commercial vehicles that are most likely to contribute to a crash, including distracted driving, following too close, improper passing, speeding and improper lane use.

[Related: A 14-state truck speed trap: Where enforcement is most prominent]

"This coordinated operation is an effort to increase awareness by means of high visibility enforcement on the I-94 freeway," said Capt. Richard Arnold, commander of the MSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. The road, he added, is "prone to weather-related crashes involving interstate commercial vehicle drivers this time of year."

Multi-state commercial vehicle enforcement initiatives allow neighboring states to align their resources to collectively focus attention on safety concerns involving interstate traffic, said a statement from MSP. 

The "Eyes on 94" initiative is part of the statewide Drive Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety campaign, which is based on the national strategy on highway safety that seeks to reduce the number of traffic deaths nationwide.

FMCSA shuts down South Dakota-based owner-op for drug, CDL violations

A South Dakota-based owner-operator has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following drug and driver qualification violations.

An FMCSA investigation found Rapid City, South Dakota-based Hall Trucking and owner Clayton Hall “to be egregiously noncompliant with multiple federal safety regulations,” including drug and alcohol use and testing, CDL standards, qualification of drivers and driving of commercial vehicles.

[Related: 'Fun' with safety/compliance: Low-hanging fruit to avoid FMCSA's drug/alcohol clearinghouse violations]

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In June 2020, Hall tested positive for amphetamines, FMCSA said, and was notified that he was prohibited from driving a CMV until he completed the required return-to-duty process overseen by a Substance Abuse Professional. Hall’s drug test result was also reported in FMCSA’s CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Despite the disqualification, Hall continued to drive a truck on at least 20 occasions, including at least three interstate trips in October 2021.

FMCSA investigators further found that a Hall Trucking employee driver did not have a current medical examiner’s certificate required by federal regulations for interstate commercial operations. Additionally, the individual possessed an “intrastate only” CDL, which did not allow him to legally operate a CMV outside South Dakota state boundaries. Despite these prohibitions, the individual, on at least three occasions in 2021, was dispatched by Hall on commercial interstate trucking trips, the agency alleged.

Hall could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Failing to comply with the provisions of the federal imminent hazard order could result in civil penalties of up to $28,142 for each violation. Hall Trucking may also be assessed civil penalties of at least $11,256 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration, and up to $15,876 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT Number registration. 

400 Freightliner, Western Star trucks recalled for tire, rim non-compliance

Daimler Trucks North America has recalled approximately 413 trucks in which the tires and rims are not approved and rated for the trucks from the Tire and Rim Association or tire manufacturer, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

As such, the affected trucks fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 120, "Wheels and Rims-Other Than Passenger Cars."

The recall affects certain model year 2011-2022 Freightliner SD 108 and Freightliner SD 114 models; 2016 Freightliner Coronado trucks; 2011-2022 Western Star 4900 and Western Star 6900 models; 2013-2022 Western Star 4700 models; and 2022 49X trucks.

The remedy for the recall is currently under development. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL-908. NHTSA’s recall number is 21V-896.