August 14, 2013
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that Hialeah, Fla.-based McRea Transportation, Inc. (USDOT No. 1838244), one of two unrelated bus companies that had stranded New York City-bound passengers in Virginia following a mechanical breakdown last month, has been declared an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered to cease all operations. The company was served the federal orders July 24, 2013.
“There is no place on our highways and roads for bus operators who disregard safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Passengers should be able to trust that the company they use will be able to get them to their destination in a safe and timely manner.”
McRea Transportation operated a small fleet of motorcoaches and had recently conducted passenger services for a tour provider between Atlanta and New York City.
On July 11, 2013, a McRea Transportation motorcoach broke-down in Northampton County, N.C., along Interstate 85 at 2:30 a.m. Fifty passengers were later transported to a Virginia welcome center by state law enforcement officers where they waited approximately 10 hours for a replacement motorcoach to arrive.
On July 15, 2013, FMCSA safety investigators launched an investigation of McRea Transportation and found that the company owners failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service requirements and controlled substances and alcohol use testing regulations. Drivers’ duty status records books were also falsified in an attempt to operate a 50-passenger motorcoach on a trip from New York City to Atlanta.
Investigators also found that McRea Transportation had failed to repair vehicle deficiencies thereby posing an ongoing and imminent hazard to the public. A copy of the McRea Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/McReaTransportationInc.pdf.
“Safety is our highest priority and we charge every bus or trucking company to make it their number-one priority as well,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Every driver and every passenger deserves to reach their destination safely. Companies that needlessly place the traveling public at risk will be shut down.”
This action becomes the 17th out-of-service order issued by FMCSA since the deployment in April 2013 of more than 50 "Operation Quick Strike" safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers.
In the past three months, FMCSA has also revoked the operating authority of ten additional bus companies following compliance review investigations that resulted in an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.
Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has issued out-of-service orders to a total of 24 bus companies and nine trucking companies. The agency has also declared seven commercial driver's license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.
As part of FMCSA's work to make safety data readily available to the traveling public, the SaferBus mobile app gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. The SaferBus app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA's “Look Before You Book” webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.
Travelers planning a bus trip are also encouraged to think safety first before buying a ticket or chartering a bus by using FMCSA's multilingual passenger carrier safety checklist at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/Index.aspx.
FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA's consumer complaint web site: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp.
Consumers who bought a ticket on a bus company that FMCSA has recently placed out-of-service may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act if they paid for the ticket by credit card. For more information visit: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/bus-credit-refund.aspx.