U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Contact: Melissa Mazzella DeLaney
Tel.: (202) 366-9999 or (202) 366-2309
MCSA declares Tornado Bus an "imminent hazard to public safety" Firm is ordered to cease all commercial operations
WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 - The bus company involved in a fatal crash in Arkansas last month has been declared an "imminent hazard" by the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA), and must immediately cease all commercial operations. The order was served to Tornado Bus Co., Inc., of Dallas, Texas, by FMCSA officials on Dec. 21, 2007.
"Based upon your present state of unacceptable safety compliance and your failure to adequately establish safety management systems and oversee your drivers' duty status and hours-of-service (HOS), your motor carrier operation poses an 'imminent hazard' to public safety," the FMCSA document stated.
The order is "binding upon Tornado and each of its officers, directors, successors and assigns."
On Nov. 25, 2007, a Tornado bus struck a pick-up truck and a tractor-trailer near Earle, Ark., killing three bus passengers and the driver of the pick-up. An initial review of the Tornado driver's records-of-duty by FMCSA investigators revealed that the driver had exceeded the maximum hours-of-service allowed and had falsely listed the presence of a co-driver when none existed. As a result of the crash, FMCSA on Nov. 26, 2007, initiated a compliance review at the company's headquarters in Dallas; the compliance review remains open at this time.
Since 2001, Tornado Bus Co., Inc., has been the subject of four compliance reviews, which resulted in fines totaling $57,680 for violating hours-of-service requirements and falsifying driver duty records. In addition, the company since 2001 has been fined on four separate occasions totaling $5,410 for safety violations discovered during routine roadside inspections.
The FMCSA document states: "Despite the imposition of these penalties, Tornado's method of operation remained unchanged. The immediate and severe hazard to safety stems from Tornado's egregious indifference to the hours-of-service requirements."
The investigation of the crash and of the company's federally required safety compliance records is continuing. The order can be viewed at
NOTE: On June 26, 2008, FMCSA issued a rescission of operations out-of-service order to Tornado. The rescission document can be viewed at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/Tornado-Bus-Rescission.pdf
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