April 1, 2014
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it has revoked the operating authority of two Massachusetts-based bus companies and declared a Texas trucking company to be an imminent hazard to public safety, resulting in the shut-down of all three carriers for disregarding federal safety regulations and putting their drivers, passengers, and the motoring public at risk.
“Safety is our highest priority and we will continue to demand that bus and truck companies fulfill their responsibility to ensure that dangerous vehicles and unsafe drivers are not permitted on our highways and roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Companies that fail in this responsibility will not be allowed to operate.”
Thus far in 2014, FMCSA has revoked the operating authority of more than 75 unsafe bus and truck companies. A total of eight motor carriers and four commercial drivers have been declared to be imminent hazards to public safety.
“FMCSA inspectors and safety investigators across the nation are focused on protecting the motoring public from needless harm,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Our goal is to stop a preventable bus or truck crash from ever occurring.”
The two passenger carriers ordered shut-down by FMCSA are:
- Crystal Transport, Inc., USDOT No. 334608 of Boston, Mass. In February 2014, FMCSA investigators conducted a compliance review of Crystal Transport and discovered continuing serious violations and non-compliance with previously identified federal safety regulations. The company was given a 30-day period to provide evidence demonstrating that it was operating in compliance with safety regulations and that its federal operating authority should not be revoked. Examples of continuing violations cited by FMCSA investigators included evidence that three drivers, all of whom had tested positive for controlled substances, had been allowed to transport passengers for most of 2013. In addition, falsified records-of-duty were discovered as was evidence of drivers being required or permitted to drive far in excess of hours-of-service restrictions.
The company failed to respond within the 30-day period. On March 19, 2014, FMCSA ordered Crystal Transport to stop operating in interstate commerce. A copy of the Order revoking Operating Authority Registration is available here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2014/CrystalTransport.pdf.
- Pandora Travel, Inc., USDOT No. 2046748, of Lawrence, Mass. In February 2014, FMCSA investigators conducted a compliance review of Pandora Travel and discovered continuing serious violations and non-compliance with previously identified federal safety regulations. The company was provided a 30-day period to provide evidence demonstrating that it was operating in compliance with safety regulations and that its federal operating authority should not be revoked. Examples of continuing violations cited by FMCSA investigators were numerous speeding and traffic violations incurred by Pandora’s drivers over a period of years and throughout 2013. Through roadside violations and comparison of drivers’ records-of-duty, FMCSA investigators found numerous instances of drivers’ exceeding the posted speed limit. The company took no disciplinary action in some instances and allowed the individuals to continue to transport passengers.
The company responded but failed to demonstrate compliance with federal safety regulations. On March 26, 2014, FMCSA ordered Pandora Travel to stop operating in interstate commerce. A copy of the Order revoking Operating Authority Registration is available here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2014/PandoraTravel.pdf.
The trucking company ordered shut-down by FMCSA is:
- FTW Transport, LLC, USDOT No. 1891989, of Forest Hill, Texas. Federal investigators found that the company failed to require its drivers to comply with federal limitations on driving and on-duty requirements. Drivers were not required by the company to turn in hours-of-service records or other required documentation such as driving itineraries and fuel receipts. The carrier failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with controlled substances and alcohol use and testing regulations. FTW Transport failed to ensure that its vehicles were properly inspected, repaired, and maintained. In the past 12 months, the company was involved in five preventable crashes. In two of those crashes, FTW Transport drivers were cited with careless driving.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order, issued March 19, 2014, is available here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2014/FTWTransport.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 app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA’s “Look Before You Book” webpage at: http://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.
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.