Four Bus Companies Shut Down

Four Bus Companies Shut Down Following Multi-State FMCSA Strike Force Investigation

March 14, 2016 – WASHINGTON – Following a four-month, multi-state investigation, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it has revoked the operating authority registration of four commercial bus companies for willfully failing to comply with federal safety regulations.

Each of the four passenger carriers intentionally provided a false physical address as its principal place of business. Federal safety regulations prohibit such false and misleading information.

The bus companies who had their USDOT operating authority registration revoked are:

  • Homewood, Alabama-based AKAI LLC, USDOT No. 2444704
  • Norcross, Georgia-based Luxury Express Bus Company LLC, USDOT No. 2442687
  • Waltham, Massachusetts-based Magnum Coach Lines, LLC, USDOT No. 2489680
  • Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hermes Luxury Coach LTD, USDOT No. 2430448

These companies could be fined for operating without a valid USDOT operating authority. The fines could be up to $25,000 for each violation.

As part of the recent strike force investigation, two additional bus companies will be fined. The fines are for multiple violations of federal safety regulations.

  • Doraville, Georgia-based Transtate Travel Inc., USDOT No. 2450783. Transtate Travel violated two federal statutes. (1) Making a fraudulent or intentionally false entry on a USDOT operating authority registration document. (2) Operating beyond the scope of its USDOT-granted authority. Transtate Travel has received a proposed Conditional Safety Rating.
  • New York City-based Forever Yours Tours, Inc., USDOT No. 2042615. Forever Yours Tours also violated two federal statutes. (1) Aiding, abetting, encouraging, or requiring a motor carrier or its employees to violate federal safety regulations. (2) Making fraudulent or intentionally false entry on a USDOT application for operating authority registration. Forever Yours Tours has received a proposed Unsatisfactory Safety Rating.

Companies getting Conditional or Unsatisfactory Safety Ratings have 45 days to submit an acceptable corrective action plan. That plan must outline in detail the steps it will take to bring the carrier into compliance with FMCSA safety regulations. Or a company can submit a formal Administrative Appeal to the agency. A company can also contest the proposed Safety Rating.

Commercial bus and truck companies that receive a final Safety Rating of Unsatisfactory cannot operate in interstate and intrastate commerce.

Operating in violation of a final Unsatisfactory Safety Rating may result in federal civil penalties of at least $25,000, as well as a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.

Travelers planning a bus trip are also encouraged to think safety first. Before buying a ticket or chartering a bus, use FMCSA’s passenger carrier safety checklist. The checklist is available in multiple languages: – click here.

USDOT Registration Unified

FMCSA Launches Online Unified Registration System that Strengthens Safety and Improves Efficiency

USDOT Unified Registration System
USDOT Unified Registration System

December 17, 2015 – WASHINGTON – On Dec. 12, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched a new, simplified, online registration process that truck and bus companies, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers, and cargo tank manufacturing, inspection and repair facilities use as new applicants for USDOT registration.




The first phase of the Unified Registration System (URS) combines multiple “legacy” reporting forms into a single, online “smart form” that streamlines the registration and renewal process, improves efficiency, reduces errors and, most importantly, strengthens safety for the motoring public.

When fully implemented in 2016, Unified USDOT Registration will enable FMCSA to more readily identify unfit carriers and detect unsafe truck and bus companies seeking to evade Agency enforcement actions, including civil penalties, by attempting to regain USDOT registration by registering as a purported different, unrelated business entity.

FMCSA estimates URS will ultimately reduce costs to industry by approximately $9 million in time saved and fees incurred over a 10-year period.




For more information about URS visit: FMCSA/urs.

Student Art Contest Encourages Bus Safety Belts

Safety Belts Art Contest 2015 Winner Julia Ou
Safety Belts Art Contest 2015 Winner, Julia Ou

Student Art Contest Takes Aim at Reducing Fatalities by Encouraging Truck Drivers, Bus Drivers and Children to Use Safety Belts

December 4, 2015 – WASHINGTON – Submissions are now being accepted for the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership’s “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” annual student art contest, which aims to reduce the number of fatalities by encouraging commercial truck drivers, bus drivers and children to use safety belts.

Approximately 275 occupants of large trucks who were killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing their safety belts, according to the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The contest is open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries.

Submissions will be accepted through March 1, 2016. Contest rules and information on how to submit an entry are available at: FMCSA/safetybelt.

The art contest lets children encourage truck, bus, and all drivers to buckle up for safety. Children K-6th grade (ages 5-12) are eligible if they have relatives who work in the truck or bus industry. Others may enter if sponsored by a CMV Safety Belt Partnership member.

Safety Belts Contest Awards

Awards are made in two categories:

• Kindergarten through second grade, and
• Third through sixth grades.

The Partnership makes one grand prize and five honorable mention awards for each category.

Grand prize winners receive a cash award and framed copy of their winning artwork.

All 12 winners receive a certificate, have their artwork featured in a calendar, and are invited to an awards ceremony at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, DC. Winners are also invited to a special event at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. Remember to enter by March 1, 2016!



Safety Belts Information

A manual for increasing safety belt use by motor carriers is available: Safety Belts.

– See more at: Safety Belts Student Art Contest



Drivers Protected From Forced Safety Violations

FMCSA Final Rule, children boarding school bus by flickr user woodlywonderworks

FMCSA Final Rule Prohibits Coercion, Protects Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers From Being Forced to Violate Safety Regulations



FMCSA Final Rule Announcement

November 27, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the publication in the Federal Register of a Final Rule to help further safeguard commercial truck and bus drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations. The Rule provides FMCSA with the authority to take enforcement action not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. The rule was first proposed in May of 2014. It becomes effective on January 29, 2016.

“Our nation relies on millions of commercial vehicle drivers to move people and freight, and we must do everything we can to ensure that they are able to operate safely,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Rule enables us to take enforcement action against anyone in the transportation chain who knowingly and recklessly jeopardizes the safety of the driver and of the motoring public.”

The Final Rule addresses three key areas concerning driver coercion: procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA, steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations, and penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers.

“Any time a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, freight-forwarder, or broker demands that a schedule be met, one that the driver says would be impossible without violating hours-of-service restrictions or other safety regulations, that is coercion,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road.”

In formulating this Rule, the agency heard from commercial drivers who reported being pressured to violate federal safety regulations with implicit or explicit threats of job termination, denial of subsequent trips or loads, reduced pay, forfeiture of favorable work hours or transportation jobs, or other direct retaliations.




Some of the FMCSA regulations drivers reported being coerced into violating included: hours-of-service limitations designed to prevent fatigued driving, commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements, drug and alcohol testing, the transportation of hazardous materials, and commercial regulations applicable to, among others, interstate household goods movers and passenger carriers.

Commercial truck and bus drivers have had whistle-blower protection through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) since 1982, when the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) was adopted. The STAA and OSHA regulations protect drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security conditions. STAA provides whistleblower protection for drivers who report coercion complaints under this Final Rule and are then retaliated against by their employer.

In June 2014, FMCSA and OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the STAA. The Memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.

For more information on what constitutes coercion and how to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/coercion. Please note: the Final Rule takes effect 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

This rulemaking was authorized by Section 32911 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA), as amended.

For a copy of today’s Federal Register announcement, see: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/11/30/2015-30237/prohibiting-coercion-of-commercial-motor-vehicle-drivers.

FMCSA Final Rule, DOT And OSHA

The public, commercial drivers, motor carriers, and other industry members may file a safety, service, or discrimination complaint against a household goods moving company, bus, or truck company, including hazardous materials hauler or a cargo tank facility, by calling toll free 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Time. Complaints may also be submitted through FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint website at: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.

FMCSA was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Its primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. For more information on FMCSA’s safety programs and activities, visit: FMCSA.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, corporate securities, food safety, and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at: Whistle Blowers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit: http://www.osha.gov.

– See more at: Final Rule Prohibits Coercion, Protects Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers From Being Forced to Violate Safety Regulations