FMCSA: California trucker an ‘imminent hazard’ to public safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared California-licensed truck driver Yakov Zaverukha to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Zaverukha, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was served the federal order on March 25.

According to the agency, on March 21, 2016, while operating a large commercial truck, Zaverukha was stopped and cited by the Illinois State Police for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of 0.308% – nearly seven times the limit set by federal statute. Zaverukha was also cited for possession of intoxicating beverage while on-duty or driving and for failing to retain driver logbooks for the previous seven day period – both immediate out-of-service violations, the agency noted. Zaverukha further received citations for the illegal transportation of alcohol and improper lane usage.

Previously, Zaverukha was convicted twice in Connecticut of alcohol-related violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle and once in Massachusetts, FMCSA said.

The agency also said that on Nov. 2, 2012, Zaverukha was convicted by the state of Connecticut for refusing a breath alcohol test; his CDL was suspended for approximately eight months.  Later, on Dec.12, 2012, Zaverukha was again convicted in Connecticut for the same offense resulting in the suspension of his CDL for approximately 15 months.

In 2007, the state of Massachusetts convicted Zaverukha of multiple violations of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs while operating a commercial motor vehicle, according to the agency.  Following that conviction, Zaverukha’s CDL was suspended for approximately one year, FMCSA added.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that his driving history “…demonstrates that Zaverukha is unwilling or unable to cease operating a commercial motor vehicle while using alcohol,” adding that his “…continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle…puts the motoring public at imminent risk for serious bodily injury or death if not discontinued immediately.”  Zaverukha also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations, the agency said.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of not less than $2,750 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense.  A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years.  Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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