November 25, 2013

FMCSA orders Phoenix operator to cease operations

Safety investigators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered Phoenix-based Autobuses Rayon Inc. to immediately cease all passenger transportation operations after finding the company was endangering the traveling public by failing to ensure the safety of its vehicles and drivers.

Investigators also found that the carrier improperly allowed at least three other unsafe bus companies, previously shut down by FMCSA, to continue passenger services using vehicles with the registration markings of Autobuses Rayon. The federal shutdown order includes all interstate and intrastate operations.

In late October, a team of specially trained FMCSA safety investigators conducted an investigation of Autobuses Rayon as part of the agency’s passenger carrier safety initiative “Operation Quick Strike.”

In addition to knowingly allowing other companies to improperly operate with buses falsely marked as Autobuses Rayon, investigators found serious and widespread violations of multiple federal safety regulations, including:

  • Lack of management controls to ensure proper inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles. Of the five vehicles examined by FMCSA inspectors, a total of 36 separate out-of-service violations were discovered.
  • Failure to conduct required random tests for alcohol and illegal drug use by drivers. On at least two occasions, drivers known to have tested positive for an illegal drug were still dispatched. On another occasion, a driver was found with alcohol in his possession while transporting passengers.
  • Failure to ensure drivers were qualified and properly licensed. At least three Autobuses Rayon drivers’ did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license.
  • Failure to ensure drivers’ adhere to federal hours-of-service limitations to prevent fatigued driving. Drivers were not required to complete duty status records, vehicle inspection reports and other safety documentation.

The action announced today becomes the 20th out-of-service order issued by FMCSA since the deployment in April 2013 of more than 50 “Operation Quick Strike” safety investigators targeting high-risk passenger carriers, and the 27th out-of-service order against a bus company this year.

In the past five months, FMCSA has also revoked the operating authority of 30 additional bus companies following compliance review investigations that resulted in an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.

To view a copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order, click here.

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