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FMCSA’s “Operation Quick Strike” Shuts Down South Carolina-based Passenger Carrier

FMCSA 35-13
 

FMCSA’s “Operation Quick Strike” Shuts Down South Carolina-based Passenger Carrier

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Lake City, S.C.-based passenger carrier Destiny Tours, USDOT No. 2208481, to immediately cease all operations, declaring that its vehicle and drivers pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

"Safety is our highest priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We will not allow bus operators to endanger the public by disregarding safety regulations.  Every passenger and every traveler on the road is entitled to reach their destination safely.”

During the investigation, FMCSA investigators found that Destiny Tours, which operated a charter service primarily in the southeastern United States, falsified an inspection document and failed to regularly inspect, repair or maintain its single motor coach as required by federal safety regulations.  No evidence was found that showed that the vehicle’s emergency exits, including push-out windows, had ever been tested.

In addition, investigators found that the owners of Destiny Tours failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers complied 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.

FMCSA investigators also discovered that Destiny Tours had been transporting passengers in violation of a federal cease operations order issued to its owners in November 2010.  Consequently, Destiny Tours had been operating without required USDOT operating authority.

“The focus of our ‘Operation Quick Strike’ teams is on preventing unsafe passenger carriers and commercial drivers from entering our highways and roads,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  “No one traveling by bus or by private vehicle should be put at risk.”

This action represents the 11th out-of-service order issued by FMCSA since the deployment in April 1, 2013, of more than 50 specially trained “Operation Quick Strike” safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers.  In the past six weeks, FMCSA investigators have issued out-of-service orders to bus companies in the District of Columbia, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Mississippi, New York and Utah.  Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has issued out-of-service orders to a total of 18 bus companies and eight trucking companies.  The agency has also declared six commercial driver’s license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.

A copy of today’s imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/DestinyTours.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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Monday, June 3, 2013