WASHINGTON – A Woods Cross, Utah-based bus company that primarily transported children has been ordered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to cease all intrastate and interstate operations for repeatedly operating unsafe vehicles and for failing to comply with a 2014 federal consent order.
Deseret Bus Leasing, Inc. (d/b/a Deseret Bus Service), USDOT No. 890659, was ordered by FMCSA to cease all operations, effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 20, 2015.
Deseret had undergone a compliance review by FMCSA investigators in late 2013 which ultimately resulted in an unsatisfactory safety rating, prohibiting the company from conducting commercial operations.
In June 2014, following a thorough review by FMCSA of the company’s safety management plan, and upon entering into a federal consent order, Deseret’s safety rating was upgraded to conditional as long as Deseret implemented its safety management plan and complied with the terms of the order.
The federal consent order detailed not only the corrective actions the company had taken, but outlined the steps it had agreed were necessary to ensure compliance with federal safety regulations. These corrective actions included, among others, ensuring that Deseret’s leased and company-owned vehicles were systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained.
Deseret Bus Service further agreed to submit quarterly reports to FMCSA’s Utah Division and provide updated lists of drivers, records of duty status summaries, driver vehicle inspections reports, and all annual and roadside/terminal inspections.
Between January and May 2015, Deseret was subject to 15 vehicle inspections. On seven occasions, safety inspectors found serious violations that posed a risk to public safety and required vehicles to be placed out-of-service. Safety violations included defective brakes and brake warning systems, insufficient tire-tread, broken leaf springs, and exhaust leaks.
In its federal consent order, Deseret had also agreed to immediately terminate any driver who knowingly operated a vehicle that had been placed out-of-service before it was repaired. On multiple occasions, a single driver was found to repeatedly operate a Deseret vehicle that had been placed out-of-service; the driver is still employed by the company.
FMCSA’s action places Deseret Bus Service’s operations out-of-service based on its unsatisfactory safety rating and suspends its USDOT number; Deseret’s federal operating authority registration is revoked. Operating in violation of an out-of-service order without federal operating authority and a USDOT number may result in civil penalties up to $60,000 for each transportation operation, as well as criminal penalties that may include fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.
While Deseret may request an administrative review of FMCSA’s denial of its request for a change in its unsatisfactory safety rating, the prohibition from conducting all intrastate and interstate commercial passenger transportation operations would remain in place during the period of any review.
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 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/lookbeforeyoubook.
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.