May 3, 2013
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Kearns, Utah-based passenger carrier Salt Lake Shuttles, LLC, to immediately cease all operations, declaring that its drivers and vehicles pose an imminent hazard to public safety.
Salt Lake Shuttles operates a small fleet of buses and primarily provides charter services between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
“Bus companies across the U.S. should know that if they put the traveling public at risk, we will put them out of business,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will not tolerate bus companies disregarding safety regulations that protect the traveling public from harm.”
Today's action marks the fifth shutdown of a passenger carrier following the deployment earlier this month of more than 50 specially trained safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers. In the past ten days, FMCSA investigators have shut down bus companies in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio and New York. Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has shut down a total of 12 bus companies and seven trucking companies. The agency has also declared three commercial driver's license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.
During an investigation of Salt Lake Shuttles, federal safety investigators uncovered serious regulatory violations demonstrating the bus company's disregard for motor coach passenger safety.
Investigators found that the company failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service regulations. Drivers frequently made round-trip journeys from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, a distance of approximately 840 miles, without rest, in violation of hours-of-service rules.
The company also failed to ensure that its vehicles were properly and regularly inspected, repaired and maintained.
Investigators found that the company failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with regulations requiring testing for controlled substances and alcohol. Drivers were employed before receiving negative pre-employment drug and alcohol test results as required by federal law.
“FMCSA staff coast to coast are focused on protecting lives by removing unsafe bus and truck companies and unsafe commercial drivers from the road,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Our goal is to stop a preventable bus or truck crash from ever occurring.”
A copy of today's imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/SaltLakeShuttle.pdf.
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.