The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday, Nov. 7, declared North Carolina-based ATA Trail Inc. an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered the passenger van company to immediately cease all transportation services. FMCSA said it issued an imminent hazard out-of-service order against ATA Trail following a comprehensive review of the company’s compliance with federal safety standards.
“Unsafe buses and drivers have no place on our nation’s roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are using every available resource to remove high-risk bus companies and drivers that threaten the safety of the American motoring public.”
FMCSA said ATA Trail was shut down immediately after its safety investigators found the company in violation of multiple federal standards, including using drivers without the required medical qualifications, violating hours-of-service rules for drivers, operating without the proper insurance and using vehicles that were not regularly inspected and repaired.
FMCSA said it issued the shutdown order following a nationwide crackdown on unsafe bus operators, during which federal, state and local police conducted 8,300 surprise safety inspections of motorcoaches, tour buses, school buses and other commercial passenger vehicles over a two-week period. The unannounced inspections were part of FMCSA’s annual National Passenger Carrier Inspection Strike Force, which resulted in 902 unsafe buses or drivers being removed.
In addition to the unannounced strike force inspections, FMCSA and state safety investigators initiated 350 onsite comprehensive safety compliance reviews on commercial passenger bus companies. “These thousands of unannounced bus safety inspections and strong enforcement actions send a clear signal that we will not tolerate bus companies or drivers that place our safety at risk,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “Play by the safety rules of the road, or lose your privilege to operate in this industry.”