FMCSA shuts down Massachusetts van service for safety violations

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Massachusetts bus company offering interstate shuttle services to Connecticut and New York City has been ordered to suspend service for failing to meet federal safety regulations.

Santana Busline Inc., of Springfield, MA, was declared to be an imminent hazard to public safety by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The administration’s findings and an out-of-service order were sent out via press release on Wednesday afternoon, March 13.

FMCSA began a review of the carrier’s operations in March, which resulted in the shutdown order. Investigators found that Santana Busline “failed to ensure that its drivers comply with hours-of-service requirements, allowed unqualified drivers to operate its vehicles in an unsafe manner, failed to conduct periodic vehicle safety inspections, failed to properly maintain and repair vehicles as required by federal regulations, and knowingly dispatched vehicles with safety defects” according to the release.

“We won’t allow the traveling public to be put at risk by unsafe bus operators,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release issued Wednesday. “We will take swift action when we uncover companies that ignore our federal safety regulations.”

The company had been operating an unmarked 15-passenger van service between Springfield, Hartford, CT, and New York City.

The report states that Santana Busline was denied a DOT operating permit in October of 2012, due to its close affiliation with Santana Xpress, Inc., another carrier service that was placed out of service for failure to pay civil penalties, as well as unsatisfactory safety ratings.

On Jan. 5, a Santana Busline’s vehicle failed a roadside inspection when the driver was unable to produce a record of duty status log. The vehicle was not marked with Santana Busline’s name or DOT number, but was registered to the company.

On Jan. 6, another driver of a Santana bus was found to have been driving on a suspended license. Once again, the van bore no markings or DOT identification number, but was registered to the company.

Two more stops were executed on Santana buses in January, resulting in citations for failing to retain records of duty status logs, speeding and insufficient tire tread depth. Both buses in those stops also failed to display company logos or DOT numbers, but were registered to Santana.

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