FMCSA shuts down Massachusetts-based passenger van company for safety violations

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Monday, March 10, 2014

A Salem, Mass.-based passenger van company has been shut down by federal regulators due to safety concerns.

D’Boston Transportation LLC was ordered to “immediately cease all passenger transportation services due to widespread and serious noncompliance with federal safety regulations that has endangered the lives of its drivers, passengers and the motoring public,” according to a March 7 news release from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to the out-of-service order accompanying the release, federal investigators found that the owners of D’Boston “failed to ensure that its vehicles were systematically and properly inspected, repaired or maintained,” and also found that the company “failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers were qualified or complied with hours of service requirements.”

The order also applies to Luis Contreras, Juan Stepan and Ramon Castillo, and references a related company, D’Family Transportation LLC, which was also ordered out-of-service in December 2013. The imminent hazard out-of-service order issued by FMCSA prohibits the D’Family and D’Boston companies – both controlled, managed, and operated by Contreras, Stepan and Castillo – from commercial passenger transportation operations, and it blocks the unapproved use of its buses by another company or any driver.
 
Contreras applied for a USDOT number on or about Aug. 9, 2012 for D’Family Transportation LLC. On or about Dec. 16, 2013, FMCSA placed D’Family Transportation, out-of-service for failure to submit to a New Entrant safety audit. That order remains in effect.

The violations discovered included no or unsecured fire extinguisher, no or defective bus emergency exit windows, no or insufficient warning devices, no or inadequate bus emergency exit markings, no bus driveshaft protection, and numerous other violations.

D’Boston fails to inquire into its drivers’ driving records, which led to D’Boston dispatching a driver whose license had been suspended for a moving violation. Further, D’Boston fails to ensure that its drivers are medically examined and certified.

D’Boston Transportation Inc. was created and applied for a USDOT number on or about Nov. 22, 2013, according to the report. During an FMCSA review of D’Boston Transportation, Contreras, Stepan, and Castillo represented the company, with Contreras reportedly admitting that “D’Boston Transportation, Inc. was a successor to and continuation of D’Family Transportation, Inc., and that he was the president of D’Boston Transportation, Inc. and that FMCSA should link the safety records of the two entities.

In order to resume operations, D’Boston must comply with a 15-point plan from FMCSA, which includes changing its company and management philosophy regarding driver oversight and vehicle maintenance, as well as establishing sufficient safety management controls over drivers’ hours of service and record of duty status reports.

The findings of an investigation by a team of FMCSA safety investigators are outlined in the imminent hazard operations out-of-service available here.

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