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FMCSA sends 5th passenger carrier back to the garage for safety violations

FMCSA investigators found that Salt Lake Shuttles failed to make sure its drivers complied with HOS regulations and did not follow proper drug testing protocol.

The Trucker News Services

5/3/2013

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has sent another bus company back to the garage.

The agency said late Friday afternoon that on Thursday it had ordered Kearns, Utah-based passenger carrier Salt Lake Shuttles to immediately cease all operations, declaring that its drivers and vehicles pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

Among other things, investigators found that the company failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with federal Hours of Service regulations, noting that drivers frequently made round-trip journeys from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, a distance of approximately 840 miles, without rest, in violation of HOS rules.

The agency also nailed the carrier for defective equipment, saying that the carrier had gone as far as putting plastic grocery bags on one emergency exit as well as glue and/or tape on another, rendering the emergency exits inoperable.

Thursday’s order said Salt Lake Shuttles operates a small fleet of buses and primarily provides charter services between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Thursday’s action marks the fifth shutdown of a passenger carrier following the deployment in April of more than 50 specially trained safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers. In the past 10 days, FMCSA investigators have shut down bus companies in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio and New York.  Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has shut down a total of 12 bus companies and seven trucking companies.  The agency has also declared three CDL holders imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.

As for Salt Lake Shuttles, the FMCSA said that on or about April 8 the agency initiated a compliance review of the carrier’s operations. During the compliance review, the FMCSA and its designated inspectors conducted inspections on all three of the commercial motor vehicles that the company operates and found serious  noncompliance and safety defects on each vehicle inspection.  Twenty­ five violations of federal safety requirements were found on the three vehicles inspected.  Eight of the 25 violations discovered were out-of-service violations, which required each vehicle to be placed OOS.

Investigators also found that the company failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied with regulations requiring testing for controlled substances and alcohol.  Drivers were employed before receiving negative pre-employment drug and alcohol test results as required by federal law. 

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

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