Bus co. used a “shell cover game” to evade safety regs
Attempt to enter U.S. from Mexico brings violations to light
A Los Angeles-based passenger bus service that was illegally lending its name to other unsafe bus companies has been ordered to cease operations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which cited of plethora of safety violations that it says were endangering the traveling public.
Investigators found that John Andrew Ciego, which does business as “Its Good Promotion,” had serious and widespread violations of multiple federal safety regulations, including:
- Failure to monitor and ensure that drivers comply with controlled substances and alcohol use testing regulations;
- Allowing a driver who tested positive for illegal drugs to continue transporting passengers;
- Using drivers that did not possess valid U.S. commercial driver’s licenses or were not medically qualified to operate buses;
- Not requiring drivers to turn in hours-of-service records and other required documentation such as driving itineraries or fuel receipts; and
- Failure to ensure vehicles were properly and regularly inspected, repaired and maintained.
Investigators also found that the carrier improperly allowed at least four other unsafe bus companies, previously shut down by FMCSA, to continue doing business using vehicles with the registration markings of “Its Good Promotion.”
Stopped at the border
The crackdown began on Dec. 1, 2013, when a bus with the markings of “Its Good Promotion” was stopped for an inspection while crossing into the United States at the Otay Mesa, Calif., Port of Entry. The vehicle was found to be the subject of an FMCSA out-of-service order issued Nov. 15, 2013. Furthermore, inspectors discovered 17 serious safety defects, 14 of which individually required the vehicle to be immediately placed out-of-service as an imminent hazard to the public.
It was also discovered that the vehicle had attempted to cross the border earlier the same day in El Paso, Texas, but was refused entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents because of the previously issued FMCSA out-of-service order.
Multiple companies involved
Employing innovative investigative techniques developed under the recent Operation Quick Strike crackdown, FMCSA investigators on Dec. 2, 2013, launched an intensified investigation of “Its Good Promotion” and found that the company name and its USDOT number were being used by multiple motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle owners as a “shell cover name” to transport passengers between Mexico and the U.S. The four motor carriers that were attempting to appear as part of “Its Good Promotion” had been previously ordered by FMCSA to cease operations because of serious safety violations.
"Rogue bus operations that compromise public safety are being shut down in California and nationwide," said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We encourage anyone with a complaint, information or evidence that a bus company is endangering passengers or breaking the law to contact FMCSA by calling 1-888-DOT-SAFT [1-888-368-7238] or making a report with our National Consumer Complaint Database at http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov."