U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 4, 2001
Contact: Dave Longo
FMCSA Fines North Carolina Passenger Carrier $35,500 for Multiple Safety Violations
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that AMA Tours Unlimited, Inc., of Fayetteville, N.C., a for-hire passenger carrier, was served with a "Notice of Claim" letter for $35,500 in civil penalties.
FMCSA conducted a safety audit of AMA following a crash by a tour bus that was under subcontract to AMA and that was involved in an April 6 crash. The crash occurred near Kingsland, Ga., and resulted in 22 high school-age children being injured.
FMCSA uses the notice of claim to initiate civil actions for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The claim letter alleges that AMA Tours Unlimited, Inc., committed multiple violations of the FMCSRs, discovered during an investigation conducted by FMCSA's North Carolina Division.
"We will continue to strictly enforce the federal motor carrier regulations against those truck and bus companies and commercial drivers that mistakenly take safety lightly. Our number one goal is to save lives and prevent injuries from large motor carrier-related accidents," said FMCSA Acting Deputy Administrator Julie Anna Cirillo. "This also underscores the Bush Administration's commitment to reduce the number of truck-related crashes on our highways."
FMCSA investigators issued a proposed unsatisfactory safety rating and cited AMA president, Alphonso Haigler, for violations involving drug and alcohol testing requirements, qualification of drivers, hours of service requirements, and inspection and maintenance of motor vehicles. The company reportedly employs seven drivers and operates four motor coaches.
In addition, FMCSA alleged that AMA allowed its driver, Darol Wayne Britt, to drive 20 hours without 8 consecutive hours off-duty. Current federal regulations require large truck and bus drivers to drive no more than 10 consecutive hours, followed by 8 consecutive hours off duty.
This safety investigation was a cooperative effort involving FMCSA's Georgia and North Carolina Divisions, the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Public Service Commission, and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles' Enforcement Section.
Additional information about federal motor carrier safety regulations and the FMCSA's efforts to increase national motor carrier safety is on the Internet at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
# # #