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FMCSA to Fung Wah: three strikes and you're OOS

The FMCSA has issued three OOS orders against Fung Wah beginning with an attempt to inspect the carrier's buses, a move that was initiually rebuffed.

The Trucker News Services

3/28/2013

WASHINGTON — An investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shut down Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc.

The agency Thursday declared the Boston-based carrier to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered to cease all passenger operations.

Thursday’s action rescinds the FMCSA’s March 1 out-of-service order issued to the company that was based upon its failure to cooperate with FMCSA investigators and replaces it with an updated order based on additional information.

Since the March 1 order, FMCSA safety investigators have found evidence of significant safety problems and dangerous conditions on its buses.

The agency said the company failed to inspect, repair and maintain its vehicles, falsified inspection records, failed to ensure its drivers were qualified and complied with hours-of-service regulations, and failed to meet drug and alcohol testing requirements.  Individually and cumulatively, these violations and conditions of operations substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to Fung Wah drivers, passengers and the traveling public, the agency said.

It was late on the afternoon of March 1 that the FMCSA, frustrated with the lack of cooperation by Fung Wah motorcoach company to present its 28 buses for inspection, shut down the company using new authorities given the agency under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

FMCSA Feb. 26 had ordered Fung Wah Bus Transportation to immediately provide its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors.

While the company was not ordered out-of-service, it was not able to operate any of its buses on the nation’s highway until they had been inspected and deemed roadworthy.

The law by President Barack Obama in July 2012, says that the FMCSA may revoke the operating authority registration of a motor carrier that fails to comply with an administrative subpoena or a letter demanding release of company safety records.

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This is the first case of FMCSA exercising this new provision to revoke a motor carrier’s federal operating authority, the FMCSA said.

An annoyed FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro blasted the carrier in the March 1 order.

 “We will not hesitate to immediately shut down a bus or truck company that ignores safety regulations and puts innocent lives at risk,” Ferro said.  “We will employ every tool we have to take unsafe commercial drivers, vehicles and entire companies off the road anywhere in the county at any time.”

The Feb. 26 order came in the wake of the carrier entering into a Consent Agreement with the Massachusetts DPU whereby the carrier voluntarily removed 21 of its motor coaches from for-hire passenger service in order to allow inspection by the manufacturer’s representative.

According to the Consent Agreement, inspections by DPU revealed structural deficiencies and/or frame cracks in certain of the carrier’s pre-2005 model motor coaches.

Furthermore, the agency said in the Feb. 26 order, Fung Wah Bus Transportation generally did not have in place an effective vehicle maintenance program to prevent the operation of unsafe motor coaches and noted that the carrier neither maintains its older fleet of commercial motor vehicles in a safe and proper operating condition nor in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and Technical Service Bulletins, and does not systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, certain older motor vehicles subject to its control.

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

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