U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Contact: Duane DeBruyne
Tel.:(202) 360-2935 or (202) 366-0456
North Carolina Bus Company Declared an “Imminent Hazard to the Public,” Ordered to Immediately Cease Operations
United Tours, Inc., repeatedly used nonqualified drivers, failed to comply with other federal records-of-duty regulations
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered North Carolina-based United Tours, Inc., to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service. The carrier was determined to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety for its use of nonqualified drivers and its failure to comply with federal records-of-duty reporting requirements.
The “Imminent Hazard – Out-of-Service Order” issued today, follows a comprehensive review of United Tours’ compliance with federal safety regulations. The Order states that FMCSA investigators found United Tours business practices to be “reckless” and “so widespread as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant general disregard” for federal safety regulations.
According to the order, “United Tours is using nonqualified drivers who do not possess a passenger carrier CDL (commercial driver’s license) and/or who are not medically examined and qualified.” The order also states that the company utilized “multi-employer drivers, whose records of duty status omit the carrier’s name and hours on-duty, thereby concealing these drivers’ and United Tours’ non-compliance” with federal safety regulations. “These actions result in drivers transporting passengers at a time when they may be fatigued. … Such occurrences establish an imminently hazardous and potentially deadly situation for the driver, United Tours’ passengers, and the motoring public.”
“We will immediately shut down interstate bus and truck companies that violate safety regulations," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is our number one priority and travelers deserve to reach their destination safely."
“If you are planning on taking an interstate bus trip, your first step should always be to check the company’s online safety records,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The public can easily look up bus companies on our website – www.fmcsa.dot.gov. There are resources and other safety information to help ensure your journey is as safe as possible.
In the past 48 hours, FMCSA has issued three “imminent hazard” out-of-service orders to a passenger carrier companies. Earlier today, Haines Tours of Gladwin, Michigan, which was found to be transporting passengers in the vehicles’ cargo compartment, was ordered to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service.
On June 9, JCT Motor Coach, Inc., and its affiliated company, JT’s Travel & Charter, Inc., of Atlanta, Ga., were ordered to stop operating passenger service for attempting to evade a previous out-of-service order by operating under a different name.
Last week, on June 3, FMCSA issued a cease and desist order against Sky Express, Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., after finding that the company was attempting to operate and sell tickets under a different company name, including 108 Tours and 108 Bus.
A copy of the Out-of-Service order is attached.
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