By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Wednesday, January 09, 2013
FMCSA has revoked a bus company’s operating authority and ordered it to stop providing service in the U.S. The order comes less than two weeks after the company’s bus was involved in a fatal wreck in Oregon that resulted in nine deaths and 39 passenger injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration started an investigation into the Mi Joo Tour and Travel bus company of Canada after its driver was found to have surpassed the 70-hour hours-of-service maximum.
According to an FMCSA news release, the agency found that Mi Joo Tour & Travel allowed driver Haeng Kyu Hwang to drive after he was “well beyond the 70 hour maximum hours-of-service” permitted under federal regs. Shortly after 10 a.m. Dec. 30, 2012, Hwang was behind the wheel of a Mi Joo bus with 57 passengers when it crashed down a steep embankment on Interstate 84 near Pendleton, OR.
In fact, Hwang had worked 92 hours in the seven days leading up to the crash, according to the out-of-service order filed by FMCSA.
“That investigation found that Mi Joo Tour & Travel failed to take basic measures to ensure that its drivers are properly rested for safe vehicle operations and has established a pattern and practice of scheduling and dispatching drivers on trips without regard to hours-of-service requirements,” FMCSA’s statement reads.
“The Safety of all travelers on our highways and roads remains our highest priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “We will move quickly to shut down bus companies that do not operate safely.”
The on-scene investigation of the crash by Oregon State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing, FMCSA said.
Mi Joo had been cited in 2011 after it didn’t meet U.S. drug and alcohol testing requirements. After not paying the fine initially, FMCSA said the U.S. DOT suspended Mi Joo’s operating authority. Later, the company paid the fine and was reinstated to operate in the U.S.
The company was also fined for drug and alcohol testing violations stemming from 2010.
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