By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Since launching in early April, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Motorcoach Operation Quick Strike” has continued to proactively investigate and place commercial vehicle companies out of service when buses have serious safety issues.
Add another bus company to the list.
On Friday, FMCSA filed an immediate out-of-service order for Atlanta-based Greene Classic Limousines after it said the company’s buses had “such significant structural and mechanical defects” that it was an imminent hazard to public safety.
FMCSA investigators found five of the company’s buses had a control arm that had detached from the bus’s rear axle, as indicated in the order. The buses were typically 3,400 pounds over the vehicle’s gross weight limit of 19,000 pounds, the order reads.
“The design and operation of these buses result in routine passenger capacity exceeding the buses’ GVWR,” the order reads. “FMCSA has identified significant structural damage to these buses such that their continued operation substantially increases the likelihood of vehicle rollover and crashes.”
Investigators also said the company failed to inspect, repair and maintain the five buses as required by federal regulations, and allegedly failed to consistently check its drivers’ vehicle inspection reports.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the government “will not compromise on safety.”
“Our investigators are sending a message to motor carriers across the country as part of our strikeforce to improve bus safety,” LaHood said in a news release. “We demand to have safe motor carriers, safe commercial drivers and safe commercial vehicles.”
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said a truck or bus’s body doesn’t show how safe it is mechanically.
“Failing to adhere to manufacturers’ specifications and disregarding maintenance and repair can be as dangerous as speeding, texting while driving, or any unsafe driver behavior,” Ferro said in the release. “Our Quick Strike teams will continue their intensified scrutiny of passenger carrier operations, their drivers and their vehicles.”
Greene Classic Limousine’s’ website says the company offers multiple vehicles for service including limousines, minibuses, vans and motor coaches. The site also says Jeff Greene, company president, currently serves on the board of the National Limousine Association, where the former Atlanta Police Department veteran previously served as board president.
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. FMCSA’s multilingual passenger carrier safety checklist is available 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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