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FMCSA puts bus firm, truck driver out of service

The out-of-service orders were part of the FMCSA's attempt to improve safety among motor coach companies, especially tour bus company, which have been involved in numerous high-profile fatal accdidents during the past two years.

The Trucker News Services

2/18/2013

WASHINGTON —The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Friday continued its assault on the what it considers unsafe aspects of the motorcoach industry, putting out-of-service one company.

In an unrelated move, it put one truck driver OOS.

The FMCSA ordered Atlanta-based 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 the motoring public at risk.

The agency also ordered California-based commercial truck driver Nebyou Brook to immediately cease operating as a commercial vehicle driver and declared him an imminent hazard to public safety.

The imminent hazard/operations-OOS order against Top Class Bus Co. prohibits the carrier from engaging in any type of commercial passenger service and it blocks the unapproved use of its buses by another company or any driver.

 “Thursday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and I announced a nationwide safety crackdown on high-risk motorcoach companies,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  “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.”

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During an unannounced, four-day investigation, a team of FMCSA safety investigators found that Top Class Bus Company, which operates fixed-route passenger service primarily between Atlanta and New York City, failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers comply with drivers’ Hours of Service requirements.  FMCSA’s investigators also found that Top Class failed to comply with records-of-duty status requirements, qualification requirements, and controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements.

FMCSA safety investigators further found that Top Class Bus Company permitted its drivers to falsify records-of-duty status in an attempt to conceal HOS violations. The company owners were also found to have ignored critical vehicle equipment deficiencies identified by their drivers on required daily inspection reports.

The FMCSA ordered Brook, a driver for Purpose Driven Services, LLC, a trucking company based in Apple Valley, Minn., that operates in a number of states, to cease operating following an inspection on Feb. 5, 2013, that led to the discovery of Brook’s negligence in ignoring the drug, alcohol and hours-of-service prohibitions in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The FMCSA placed Brook OOS after investigators found serious safety concerns during four roadside inspections taking place over nearly a year, in which he had been cited for egregious safety and traffic law violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).  Investigators discovered that Brook had violated laws that prohibit the operation of a CMV while in possession of or consuming alcohol and controlled substances.  Brook also violated laws against driving a CMV in an unsafe and erratic manner as well as HOS regulations.   

"A CMV driver’s blatant disregard for public safety will not be tolerated,” Ferro said. “Our agency is committed to raising the bar for commercial vehicle and driver safety, and we will remain diligent in removing negligent carriers and drivers from the roads.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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