FMCSA Orders Dallas-Based Bus Co. to Cease Operations

Through an Operations Out-of-Service Order, DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared the Dallas-based Tornado Bus Co. Inc. an "imminent hazard" and ceased its operations. "This finding means that based upon your present state of unacceptable safety compliance and your failure to adequately establish safety management systems and oversee your drivers' duty status and hours of service (HOS), your motor carrier operation poses an 'imminent hazard' to public safety," the order says.

Tornado was involved in a Nov. 25 fatal crash in which, according to the order, a Tornado bus transporting some 25 passengers from Milwaukee to Dallas crossed the center median near Earle, Ark., and struck a pick-up truck and semi-trailer. "As a result of this crash, three passengers and the driver of the pick-up truck were killed," says the order, which FMCSA officials served just before Christmas. “Effective immediately, you must cease all commercial motor vehicle operations, including all interstate and intrastate transportation of passengers and property by drivers from all dispatching locations or terminals," the order says. The order is binding on the company and each of its officers, directors, successors, etc.

An initial review of the bus driver’s records-of-duty-status by FMCSA investigators for the Nov. 25 incident showed that the driver had exceeded the maximum hours-of-service allowed and had falsely listed the presence of a co-driver when none existed. As a result of that crash, FMCSA initiated a compliance review at the company’s headquarters on Nov. 26, 2007. Since 2001, Tornado has been the subject of four compliance reviews, which resulted in fines totaling $57,680 for violating hours-of-service requirements and falsifying driver duty records. In addition, the company since 2001 has been fined on four separate occasions totaling $5,410 for driver hours-of-service violations discovered during routine roadside inspections. The investigation of the crash and of the company's federally required safety compliance records continues. The complete order can be viewed at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/news-releases/2007/Order-OOSO-2007-01.pdf.

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