FMCSA fines bus company owner for federal safety violations

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday, June 21, announced it has issued a notice of claim charging Cayetano Martinez, owner of Tierra Santa Inc. bus company, with multiple federal motor carrier safety violations. The $72,760 in fines is the result of an investigation of a fatal crash in Phoenix on March 5 involving a bus operated by Tierra Santa Inc. Six passengers were killed and 16 others were injured in the crash.

“Safety is our number one priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue to take every action at our disposal to vigorously pursue illegal, unsafe carriers and remove them from our roadways. The FMCSA has worked tirelessly to bring this civil penalty case forward.”

“We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent illegal carriers from operating and placing our road users at risk,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.

In the notice of claim, FMCSA charged Martinez with 78 violations of 13 separate motor carrier safety regulations. It also identifies the four separate company names Martinez allegedly used to illegally operate and evade previous orders from FMCSA to cease all interstate and international passenger carrier transportation. The violations include:
• 19 counts of operating without federal authority;
• 21 counts of operating without required minimum insurance;
• 24 counts of operating in violation of a previous FMCSA order to cease operations;
• Violation of alcohol and controlled substance testing requirements;
• Violation of driver qualification requirements;
• Violation of hours-of-service requirements; and
• Violation of vehicle inspection and maintenance requirements.

To contest the notice of claim or any of the violations, Martinez must submit a written reply to FMCSA on or before July 12.