FMCSA shuts down Minnesota bus company for safety violations

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 6/24/2014

A charter bus service in Minnesota has been ordered out of service after federal regulators found the company failed to ensure its buses were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Lakeville, Minn.-based On Eagles Wings Charters, Inc. to “immediately cease all passenger transportation operations” according to a news release issued by the agency on Tuesday, June 24.

According to the report, the agency received a complaint about the charter bus service on April 30 of this year, alleging the company used a non-employee passenger to drive one of its motor coaches from Tomah, Wis., to Edina, Minn., after its scheduled driver became ill. The agency launched its investigation in May, during which the lack of systematic vehicle inspections and repair and maintenance programs were also uncovered.

Of five motorcoaches available for dispatch and inspected onsite as part of the federal investigation, four vehicles were immediately ordered out-of-service for serious safety defects. In all, 40 separate safety violations were recorded for the four vehicles, including inoperative brakes and broken frame rails, according to the agency news release. A fifth motorcoach inspected was cited for inoperative brakes on one axle and multiple air leaks in the braking system, as well as a damaged windshield.

Investigators also found that that the company had failed to ensure that its drivers were properly qualified, licensed, and adhering to federal hours-of-service limitations to prevent fatigued driving. On Eagles Wings Charters was cited for missing records of duty status, exceeding hours-of-service limitations, and falsifying records of duty status.

During the compliance review, investigators allege that the owner of the company admitted to ordering one of the drivers to falsify the logs for the April 14 trip in an attempt to conceal the fact that a passenger drove the bus.

A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed here.

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