March 25, 2013

FMCSA orders Okla. operator to cease operations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered Oklahoma City-based Heartland Charters & Tours to cease all operations.

FMCSA ordered Heartland to shut down for failing to adhere to operating conditions the company agreed to follow in July 2012 in order to return to passenger service following an imminent hazard out-of-service order issued in April 2012.

The April 2012 out-of-service order was based on an extensive review of the company's operations that found multiple hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, controlled-substance and alcohol-testing violations. Safety investigators discovered that the company did not conduct pre-employment drug screenings of its drivers and failed to use properly qualified drivers, putting the public at risk.

In July 2012, FMCSA and Heartland reached a consent agreement allowing the resumption of passenger operations provided that the carrier remained compliant with federal safety regulations.

A follow-up compliance review conducted by FMCSA investigators this month found multiple violations of the consent agreement that included repeat violations of specific safety regulations that resulted in the April 2012 shutdown.

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