FMCSA: 52 bus companies, 340 vehicles shut down during enforcement campaign

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, December 12, 2013

More than one-quarter of the most at-risk motorcoach companies in the United States have been put out of business via an aggressive enforcement campaign by federal regulators.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that 52 companies and 340 vehicles were ordered out of services following Operation Quick Strike, an eight-month intensified effort to shut down unsafe motorcoach companies. The enforcement campaign began in April and concluded in November.

According to the agency’s press release, the intensified effort was part of FMCSA’s three-phase Motorcoach Safety Initiative to raise the bar for safety in the motorcoach industry and to strengthen the agency’s oversight methods.

“More than 50 specially trained investigators were dispatched from April through November to conduct in-depth reviews into the patterns and practices of the 250 most at-risk motorcoach companies, identified using roadside inspection and safety data,” the release stated.

As a result, the agency says:

•           214 top-to-bottom compliance investigations were completed (More than 30 companies had since transitioned to intrastate-only service, which FMCSA does not regulate, or had gone out of business, the release noted.);
•           20 motorcoach companies were immediately shut down for violations and posing an imminent hazard to the public;
•           32 companies were issued “Unsatisfactory” safety ratings and shut down after failing to remedy critical and acute violations;
•           28 companies took corrective action to fix the safety violations investigators uncovered to avoid being shut down; and
•           340 vehicles, of the more than 1,300 vehicles that were inspected during the investigations, were put out of service for safety and maintenance violations.

Company-wide failures to adequately maintain their buses, inadequate drug and alcohol driver testing programs, and widespread hours-of-service violations were among the reasons companies were shut down, the agency reports.

In addition, inspectors assessed the levels of safety for more than 1,300 carriers that had minimal inspection history or data with the agency. More than 240 have been targeted for follow-up investigations.

FMCSA is also encouraging travelers to visit its Look Before You Book website for tips and resources before buying a bus ticket or chartering a bus for a group trip. The agency also maintains a free SaferBus mobile app for a quick and free way to review a bus company's safety record, find multi-language check lists and report any safety violations.

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