The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Tuesday, April 5, that it has ordered Edgerton, Wis.-based Lyons Limousine to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations. The order follows a March fatality accident and the discovery of multiple federal safety violations.
Declaring the carrier an imminent hazard to public safety, the FMCSA served the Imminent Hazard Order on Mary and Patrick Lyons on April 1.
On March 25, a commercial passenger vehicle operated by Lyons Limousine was involved in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 in Elgin, Ill., resulting in the fatality of one passenger and injuries to several others.
According to the FMCSA, the Lyons Limousine driver involved in the crash was only 20 years old. Federal regulations require interstate commercial drivers to be at least 21 years old. FMCSA’s investigation showed that the same driver had been dispatched by the company on at least two other occasions in March 2016.
A federal compliance review investigation conducted by FMCSA safety investigators found the company to be in violation of multiple federal safety regulations, including repeatedly using an underage driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, failing to conduct required pre-employment background checks on its drivers, failing to maintain any records on maintenance, and failing to monitor its drivers’ hours of service.
“The investigation revealed that the company did not possess safety and operating authority registration or maintain the required levels of public liability insurance,” the FMCSA said in a news release.
According to the FMCSA, Lyons Limousine also failed to conduct the required background checks on its two drivers, one of whom was an owner of the company, Mary Lyons. Neither the 20-year-old driver nor Mary Lyons possessed a valid medical examiner’s certificate, and both had poor driving records. These deficiencies should have been discovered had the company conducted the investigations required under the federal regulations.
In addition, the 20-year-old’s personal driver’s license had been suspended by the state of Wisconsin on Sept. 10, 2015 for failure to pay a fine. This individual had been convicted on five separate occasions from April 2012 through June 2015 for speeding, obstruction of traffic in a property damage crash, following too closely in a property damage crash, failing to obey a traffic sign or signal, and failing to fasten a seat belt. Between May 2013 and August 2014, Mary Lyons was convicted for failing to fasten a seat belt on one occasion and speeding on two other occasions. On Sept. 4, 2014, Mary Lyons’ personal driver’s license had been suspended by the state of Wisconsin for failure to pay a fine.
During the FMCSA investigation, the owners of Lyons Limousine couldn’t produce any records-of-duty status for any of its drivers. Lyons Limousine was also unable to produce any vehicle maintenance records or driver vehicle inspection reports or any evidence that it conducted any of the required safety inspections to its vehicles.
“Lyons Limousine’s use of unqualified and underage drivers with poor driving records, lack of inspection, repair and maintenance records, and complete disregard of the hours-of-service regulations substantially increases the likelihood of death or serious harm to drivers, passengers and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately,” the FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order said.
Violating a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in civil penalties of up to $25,000. A motor carrier may also be assessed civil penalties of no less than $25,000 for providing transportation requiring registration, including operating in interstate commerce without federal operating authority, and up to $16,000 for operating without a USDOT number registration.
A violation of the order may also result in a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year. Further civil and criminal penalties may be assessed for any safety violations discovered after service of the order.
Sign up for eNews here and get all of Land Line’s headlines, features and special reports delivered to your inbox on a daily basis, absolutely free. All it takes is an email address.