Safety investigators for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have ordered Phoenix-based Autobuses Rayon, Inc., off the road after finding numerous violations. Among them: the carrier allowed three other unsafe bus companies that had been shut down by the FMCSA to operate buses that illegally bore Autobuses Rayon registration markings.
Under the agency’s “Operation Quick Strike” safety initiative, a team of FMCSA safety investigators also found:
- Lack of management controls to ensure proper inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles. Of the five vehicles examined by FMCSA inspectors, a total of 36 separate out-of-service violations were discovered.
- Failure to conduct required random tests for alcohol and illegal drug use by drivers. On at least two occasions, drivers known to have tested positive for an illegal drug were still dispatched. On another occasion, a driver was found with alcohol in his possession while transporting passengers.
- Failure to ensure drivers were qualified and properly licensed. At least three Autobuses Rayon drivers’ did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license.
- Failure to ensure drivers’ adhere to federal hours-of-service limitations to prevent fatigued driving. Drivers were not required to complete duty status records, vehicle inspection reports and other safety documentation.
FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said that in the past three years, the agency has more than tripled the number of dangerous companies and drivers its taken off the road.
“We will continue taking aggressive action against carriers that disregard our safety standards,” said Ferro.
The FMCSA was criticized by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) earlier this month for allowing companies it knew to be unsafe to continue operating. The NTSB cited four recent motor vehicle accidents that resulted in 25 deaths and 83 injuries in recommending an audit of the FMCSA’s oversight processes.
In the past five months, FMCSA has also revoked the operating authority of 30 additional bus companies following compliance review investigations that resulted in an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.
Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA also has issued out-of-service orders to a total of 11 trucking companies, and has declared 10 commercial driver's license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.