WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced Friday, March 14, that it has declared Sandy, Utah-based passenger carrier Serv-A-Bus, LLC, USDOT No. 1161287, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered the company and its owner to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate passenger transportation operations. FMCSA investigators found that Serv-A-Bus, as recently as last month, continued to transport passengers, primarily students, despite a January 2013 cease operations order and revocation of its USDOT registration after receiving an unsatisfactory safety rating by federal regulators.
“Safety is our top priority and we will not tolerate this kind of callous disregard for public safety by any transportation provider,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These violations are especially egregious considering the company was transporting students despite being ordered to stop all operations.”
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order for Serv-A-Bus and its owner is based upon their widespread disregard of federal safety regulations, the safety of passengers, and of the motoring public.
In February 2014, the Beaver, Utah, High School speech and debate team was traveling to Berkeley, Calif., on a bus whose operation was under the control of Gene Brady, the owner of Serv-A-Bus. The driver drove far in excess of federal maximum hours of service limits. In addition, components of the bus, including some mirrors, a bumper, and the luggage compartment doors, were secured to the vehicle by elastic cords, and the driver was observed engaging in unsafe driving maneuvers. Before the initial leg of the trip was completed, the adult coaches and chaperones contacted the school to arrange alternative transportation due to the unsafe behavior of the driver and the poor mechanical condition of the vehicle. The next morning, on its return trip to Utah, with no passengers aboard, the bus experienced engine problems, caught fire, and was engulfed in flames on the roadside of Interstate 80 in Placer County, Calif. No injuries were reported as a result of the vehicle fire.
“There is no place on our highways and roads for bus and truck companies and commercial drivers that ignore safety and put the public at needless risk,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “FMCSA personnel across the country will continue to demand that drivers, vehicles, and companies comply with vital safety regulations that protect the motoring public.”
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order, issued March 7, 2014, is available here:http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2014/ServABus.pdf.
As part of FMCSA’s work to make safety data readily available to the traveling public, the SaferBus mobile app gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company’s safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. The app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA’s “Look Before You Book” webpage at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.
Travelers planning a bus trip are also encouraged to think safety first before buying a ticket or chartering a bus by using FMCSA’s multilingual passenger carrier safety checklist at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/lookbeforeyoubook.
FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle, or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA’s consumer complaint web site:http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp.
Consumers who bought a ticket on a bus company that FMCSA has recently placed out-of-service may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act if they paid for the ticket by credit card. For more information, visit: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/bus-credit-refund.aspx.