WASHINGTON — Add another tick mark to the list of tour bus operators in trouble with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as the agency continues its intense push to remove the nation’s highways of unsafe motorcoach operators.
The agency Tuesday ordered Fung Wah Bus Transportation to immediately present its entire fleet of 28 motorcoaches for thorough and detailed safety inspections by qualified inspectors.
While the company was not ordered out-of-service, it cannot operate any of its buses on the nation’s highways until they have been inspected and deemed roadworthy.
Since the beginning of the year, FMCSA has shuttered three motocoach companies and put two drivers out-of-service.
Two of the three companies were involved in multi-fatality accidents and have been shuttered and two drivers from one of the companies involved in the fatal accidents have been put OOS.
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Tuesday’s move came in the wake of the carrier entering into a Consent Agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities ("DPU") whereby the carrier voluntarily removed 21 of its motor coaches from for-hire passenger service in order to allow inspection by the manufacturer’s representative.
According to the Consent Agreement, inspections by DPU revealed structural deficiencies and/or frame cracks in certain of the carrier’s pre-2005 model motor coaches.
Furthermore, the agency said, Fung Wah Bus Transportation generally does not have in place an effective vehicle maintenance program to prevent the operation of unsafe motor coaches and noted that the carrier does not maintain its older fleet of commercial motor vehicles in a safe and proper operating condition and not in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and Technical Service Bulletins, and does not systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, certain older motor vehicles subject to its control.
As a result of its lack of a sound maintenance program, Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc. has allowed a certain portion of its fleet to deteriorate to the point that their operation significantly increases the likelihood of serious injury or death if not discontinued immediately.
“In sum, the noncompliant, unsafe, and dangerous condition of Fung Wah Bus Transportation older bus fleet and Fung Wah Bus Transportation failure to adequately maintain and repair its older fleet of commercial motor vehicles substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death and is an imminently hazardous and potentially deadly risk for its own drivers, passengers, and for the motoring public,” the FMCSA said in the order requiring the carrier to provide its entire fleet for inspection.
FMCSA's safety investigators are continuing their examination of Fung Wah's operations, including examining the safety records of its vehicles, drivers and other company safety performance requirements prescribed by federal regulations, and may consider additional actions against the company if warranted, the agency said.
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