Last week, the FMCSA issued a press release pledging to crack down on unsafe passenger carriers. The agency wasted no time in honoring that pledge. On Friday, the FMCSA placed an Atlanta passenger carrier out of service, calling the company an “imminent hazard” to the public.
“Bus companies that operate outside the law, putting lives at risk, will be immediately taken off the road and closed for business,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The FMCSA ordered Top Class Bus Company, LLC, to immediately cease all passenger transportation services for “blatantly disregarding federal safety regulations and putting the company’s own drivers, passengers and motoring public at risk.”
The order prohibits Top Class Bus Company from any type of passenger service, including the use of its buses by another company.
FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said, “While this particular investigation was initiated earlier, it symbolizes our commitment to take immediate action and shut down an entire company if it willfully disregards the law, jeopardizing the safety of everyone.”
During an investigation of the company, the FMCSA found that Top Bus Company failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with HOS laws, records-of-duty status requirements, qualification requirements, and controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements.
Additionally, FMCSA found that the carrier permitted its drivers to falsify records-of-duty status in an attempt to conceal HOS violations.
“Top Class Bus Company’s reckless business practice of permitting its drivers to falsify records of duty status in an attempt to conceal hours of service violations while transp01iing passengers in its motor coaches between Atlanta, Georgia and New York City, New York poses a continuing imminent hazard to public safety.’ In addition, Top Class Bus Company fails to repair vehicle deficiencies identified by its drivers on required daily inspection reports, thereby posing an ongoing and imminent hazard to the public,” the out-of-service order stated.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed atwww.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/Top-Class-Bus-Company-IH-Order.pdf.