By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Friday, April 26, 2013
For the second time since it began investigating passenger carrier businesses in early April, a quick strike team of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspectors have ordered a company out of business.
FMCSA announced Friday it had ordered Tucker, GA-based Best Limo Service to immediately cease all operations due to the company’s drivers and vehicles posing “an imminent hazard to public safety.”
Best Limo Service offers motor coaches and passenger vans for tours and charter services in the southeastern region of the U.S.
According to court documents, FMCSA investigators uncovered “serious regulatory violations.” The company allegedly allowed drivers who had previously tested positive for use of a controlled substance or whose commercial driver’s license had been suspended to continue transporting passengers.
FMCSA said Best Limo Service also told investigators it employed six drivers, though documentation later showed the company had 13. The company had a driver qualification file on only one of its 13 drivers, and as of March was missing half of its driver records of duty status paperwork.
All three of the company’s buses were placed out of service for critical safety violations after on-site inspections revealed Best Limo Service had no system for inspecting or identifying vehicle maintenance and safety issues for its buses and vans.
More information on the out-of-service order is available here.
“Our FMCSA staff is working diligently as a team to move as quickly as possible in shutting down unsafe passenger carriers from coast to coast,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in a news release. “We recognize the imperative of getting these operators off the road. The safety of everyone who travels on our highways and roads is on the line.”
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said “the traveling public deserves the highest level of safety, whether they board a plane, take a train or travel by commercial bus or van,” according to the release.
To help educate the public, FMCSA has made its SaferBus mobile app available potential travel customers. The app allows bus riders to quickly review a bus company’s safety record before they buy a ticket or book group travel. It is available for iPhone, iPad and Android phone users, and can be downloaded for free here.)
Consumers and whistleblowers may report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to FMCSA by calling a toll free hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238). Complaints also can be made here.
Travel patrons who paid for a ticket to 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, FMCSA said in the release. More information is available here.
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