A Phoenix-based passenger bus service has been ordered out of service following an investigation by federal safety regulators.
Autobuses Rayon Inc. was declared an imminent hazard by investigators with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to a news release issued on Friday.
The company was ordered to immediately cease all passenger transportation operations after an investigation found evidence of failing to ensure the safety of its vehicles and drivers. Investigators also found that the carrier improperly allowed at least three other unsafe bus companies, previously shut down by FMCSA, to continue passenger services using vehicles with the registration markings of Autobuses Rayon. The federal shutdown order includes all interstate and intrastate operations.
In late October, a team of specially trained FMCSA safety investigators conducted an investigation of Autobuses Rayon as part of the agency’s passenger carrier safety initiative “Operation Quick Strike.”
In addition to knowingly allowing other companies to improperly operate with buses falsely marked as Autobuses Rayon, investigators found a total of 36 separate out-of service violations, including the following:
- Failure to conduct required random tests for alcohol and illegal drug use by drivers. On at least two occasions, drivers known to have tested positive for an illegal drug were still dispatched. On another occasion, a driver was found with alcohol in his possession while transporting passengers.
- Failure to ensure drivers were qualified and properly licensed. At least three Autobuses Rayon drivers did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license.
- Failure to ensure that drivers adhere to federal hours-of-service limitations to prevent fatigued driving. Drivers were not required to complete duty status records, vehicle inspection reports and other safety documentation.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed here.
The action announced today becomes the 20th out-of-service order issued by FMCSA since the deployment in April 2013 of more than 50 “Operation Quick Strike” safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers, and the 27th out-of-service order against a bus company this year. In the past five months, FMCSA has also revoked the operating authority of 30 additional bus companies following compliance review investigations that resulted in an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.
Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA also has issued out-of-service orders to a total of 11 trucking companies, and has declared 10 commercial driver’s license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.
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