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Motorcoach driver barred from operating after driving with 46 passengers while intoxicated

FMCSA took motorcoach driver Steven McKinley out of commission for driving 46 passengers around Alaska while intoxicated.

The Trucker News Services

7/5/2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared Alaska-licensed motorcoach driver Steven Forrest McKinley II, who drove a bus with 46 passengers aboard with an alcohol breath content of 0.341, to be an “imminent hazard to public safety” and barred him from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

On June 14 McKinley was taking 46 passengers from Seward to Anchorage, Alaska, and while en route, passengers became concerned because of his apparent intoxication, called 911 and asked him to stop the bus.

He was apprehended by a state trooper as he walked away from the vehicle.

“Companies and drivers who willfully violate safety laws will not be allowed to operated,” said new U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“FMCSA inspectors and investigators are working shoulder-to-shoulder with our state and local law partners to vigorously enforce commercial vehicle safety regulations,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif., recently introduced the Motorcoach Safety, Accountability and Technology Act of 2013, legislation that would update safety standards for newly-manufactured motorcoach vehicles while giving more power to law enforcement to inspect them.

“Local law enforcement is currently prohibited from inspecting passenger buses known to have a history of poor vehicle maintenance,” said Negrete McLeod.  “Most safety requirements are carried out by self-enforcement, leaving local law enforcement officers unable to adequately police negligent companies on the road.  My bill would remedy this issue while creating safety standards aimed at better protecting consumers.”

A Feb. 3 bus crash on Highway 38 killed eight people near San Bernardino, Calif., as a result of brake failure despite the company’s known record of poor vehicle maintenance.

Five days later, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told the company involved in the accident, Scapadas Magicas, a Mexico-based carrier, it could no longer operate in the United States

Negrete McLeod said the legislation was developed in consultation with the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency leading the investigation of the San Bernardino bus crash, and has been endorsed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

FMCSA in February began a targeted safety crackdown using specially trained investigator teams to focus on high-risk motorcoach companies.

The announcement came after numerous accidents over the past two years involving tour bus operators.

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

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