DOT: Bus in fatal Arizona crash operating illegally

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday, March 5, that Tierra Santa Inc., the company involved in Friday’s fatal bus crash in Phoenix, killing six passengers, was operating illegally. FMCSA investigators are on the premises of Tierra Santa’s place of business and conducting an immediate onsite compliance review of the company’s safety operations.

After submitting an application to receive USDOT passenger carrier operating authority in April 2009, the carrier was notified immediately by FMCSA via certified mail that they were “not authorized to engage in the interstate transportation of passengers by commercial motor vehicle during the application review.” The carrier’s application officially was denied on Dec. 14, 2009.

“I am deeply saddened by this tragic accident and troubled that this carrier continued to operate without authority and without regard for the safety of its passengers,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood. “The Department will take every action at its disposal to keep companies like this one off the road.”

“Today’s accident is an unspeakable tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” sats FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Two weeks ago, I spoke in Phoenix about the importance of tightening the application and screening process to ensure companies with a history of safety violations are not permitted to jeopardize the safety of everyone on the road. Our number-one priority is safety, and we’re committed to preventing these kinds of needless accidents.”