For the second time in nearly as many weeks, a federal regulatory agency has issued a shutdown order for a regional bus service accused of flagrantly flouting safety standards.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an imminent hazard order on Friday, stopping operations for Ming An Inc., a New York City-based interstate bus company. Ming An provided service from the Big Apple to many southern cities along the Eastern Seaboard.
Among the numerous violations outlined in the stop order, Ming An was cited for failing to conduct pre-employment drug and alcohol testing; employing drivers without CDLs; allowing drivers who are not medically certified to drive; failure to prepare records of duty status; failure to require drivers to prepare vehicle inspection reports; and failure to annually inspect the vehicles.
“We are committed to removing unsafe bus and truck companies from our highways and roads,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release announcing the stop order. “We will not let up and we will not slow down. Companies that ignore our safety regulations will not be tolerated.”
FMCSA began investigating the bus company on Feb. 13, based on poor scores Ming An was receiving in the agency’s Safety Measurement System. Investigators found that Ming An allowed unqualified drivers to operate its vehicles in an unsafe manner with its drivers receiving “numerous citations for speeding in excess of 15 miles per hour over posted speed limits” according to the stop order.
Before it can resume operations, Ming An must implement policies and procedures to remediate the unsafe driving, institute drug testing, ensure all drivers have CDLs, and implement a drug screening program.
This is the second time in as many weeks that the FMCSA has shut down a bus company for non-compliance with safety issues.
FMCSA used its recently granted powers to shut down the Fung Wah bus company on March 1, the first time the agency revoked a carrier’s operating authority using powers granted in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) – a measure President Obama signed into law in July 2012.
Fung Wah had a history of problems complying with federal safety rules.
In 2006, FMCSA fined the company $31,110 after one of its buses overturned on a highway ramp in Massachusetts. The wreck resulted in 48 passengers being injured, including some with serious injuries. Fung Wah was fined for its drivers exceeding the speed limit and drivers not being able to speak English. The company paid $12,900 in fines in May 2006 for violating safety and traffic regulations.
Land Line contributing writer Charlie Morasch added to this report.
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