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FMCSA’s “Operation Quick Strike” Shuts Down New York-based Passenger Carrier

FMCSA 24-13

FMCSA’s “Operation Quick Strike” Shuts Down New York-based Passenger Carrier

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Niagara Falls, N.Y.-based passenger carrier Coach USA Tour, Inc., USDOT No. 2121253, to immediately cease all operations, declaring that its drivers and vehicles pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

Coach USA Tour, Inc., operates a small fleet of tour buses and primarily provides sightseeing tours in the northeastern United States.  The name of this carrier is similar to, but has no affiliation with, other carriers similarly named in USDOT/FMCSA online databases.   Coach USA Tour, Inc., is NOT affiliated in any way with Paramus, N.J.-based Coach USA, Inc.  For accuracy, use USDOT No. 2121253 when conducting a search for this particular passenger carrier.

"We are committed to taking unsafe bus companies off the road," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We will take swift action against companies that ignore our federal safety regulations.”

A team of FMCSA “Quick Strike” specially trained safety investigators uncovered serious regulatory violations demonstrating Coach USA Tour, Inc.’s disregard for motor coach passenger safety.  This is the third shutdown of a passenger carrier following the deployment earlier this month of more than 50 specially trained safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers.

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

Drivers were not required by the company to turn in hours-of-service records or other required documentation such as driving itineraries and fuel receipts.  Investigators found that every driver employed by Coach USA Tour, Inc., had falsified at least one record-of-duty status report during a one-month review period.

The company also failed to ensure its vehicles were properly and regularly inspected, repaired and maintained.   Coach USA Tour, Inc., required that its drivers maintain and repair vehicles without ensuring the individuals were qualified bus mechanics.

Individually and cumulatively, these violations substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury for its passengers, drivers and the motoring public.

“I applaud our ‘Quick Strike’ safety investigation teams who are working to protect innocent lives across the country,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  “We are also grateful for the outstanding assistance of our state partners in New York who were instrumental in shutting down this carrier and removing their unsafe drivers and vehicles from our roadways.”

A copy of today’s imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/CoachUSATourInc.pdf.

As part of FMCSA's work to make safety data readily available to the traveling public, the SaferBus mobile app gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. The SaferBus app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA's "Look Before You Book" webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.

Travelers planning a bus trip are also encouraged to think safety first before buying a ticket or chartering a bus by using FMCSA's multilingual passenger carrier safety checklist at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/Index.aspx

FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA's consumer complaint web site: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp

Consumers who bought a ticket on a bus company that FMCSA has recently placed out-of-service may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act if they paid for the ticket by credit card. For more information visit: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/bus-credit-refund.aspx.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013