On February 25, 2014 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down STSC Transportation Services, Inc, an Atlanta-based bus company. FMCSA inspectors found the company was committing on-going safety violations, even after receiving citations from the FMCSA. People should be aware of some of the threats to public safety that motorcoach companies can pose when they do not follow federal safety regulations, as well as how to plan safe bus trips.
As early as November 2013, the FMSCA found the company was committing a wide variety of safety regulations violations. The company did not have proper management controls to ensure that their busses received inspections, maintenance and repairs. The company also could not produce records showing that its busses had received inspections and maintenance. The FMCSA cited the company six times for continuing to operate vehicles after the FMCSA had placed the busses out of service because of severe safety violations. In three inspections, emergency exits on busses did not work.
The company also did not conduct random alcohol and illegal drug tests on drivers as required. The company also violated hours of service regulations meant to keep drivers from driving while fatigued and falsified drivers’ duty records to cover up the violations.
The company may not operate until it has remedied all of the violations that the FMCSA listed in its imminent hazard out-of-service order.
Motorcoach companies that operate interstate are regulated by the FMCSA to help ensure passenger safety. Those planning bus trips can also increase their chances of traveling safely and avoiding motor vehicle accidents by making sure they do some research before their journeys. People can look up a motorcoach company’s safety rating and safety performance history with the FMCSA. People should also investigate whether there have been any complaints filed by consumers against a company before booking a trip.
If people do notice safety violations while on a bus trip, they should report what they saw immediately to the FMCSA so that the agency can follow up on the matter.
Bus companies that disregard federal safety regulations in order to cut corners and earn more money are putting profits over public safety. When their negligence results in auto accidents, they should bear the financial burdens that accompany those accidents, not the victims. If you have been injured in an accident involving a bus or another commercial vehicle, talk to an attorney with a history of successfully handling these complex cases who can help you secure the full amount of compensation available to you under the law.