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Friday, December 23, 2011

FMCSA slaps cease-and-desist on “illegal” bus company Sky Express

Reacting strongly and swiftly after discovering that ?unsafe, illegal bus company Sky Express, Inc is attempting to operate and sell tickets under different names, including 108 Tours and 108 Bus, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) late Friday said it had isssued a cease-and-desist order against the firm. The order was placed in effect immediately.


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What?s more, said FMCSA, as part of its investigation of Sky Express and the agency?s ?commitment to pursue enforcement action against unsafe ?reincarnated? bus companies, it  has subpoenaed the records of three websites that have sold tickets for Sky Express and several other bus companies. Those websites are www.gotobus.com, www.taketours.com and www.2001bus.com.

Back on May 31,FMCSA issued an unsatisfactory safety rating and placed North Carolina-based Sky Express out-of-service for violating multiple federal safety regulations. Per that out-of-service order, Sky Express is prohibited from operating in interstate and intrastate commerce.

Sky Express was involved in a fatal crash on I-95 about 30 miles north of Fredericksburg, VA, that killed four passengers and injured dozens of others on May 31. That crash underscored once again the danger of drowsy driving by operators of commercial vehicles.

According to a report posted online that day by The New York Daily News, the bus, which was carrying 59 passengers and had left Greensboro, NC at 10:30 PM Monday, ?strayed off a highway and hit an embankment around 5 AM. The report noted that ?The only person who wasn't hurt was the driver-- and he may have fallen asleep at the wheel, said Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police.?

?Every day, across the country, we are focused on getting bad actors off the road,? said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. ?Our goal is to create a tight net of enforcement so that when consumers select a bus company and purchase a ticket, they can be confident their bus trip will be a safe one.?

FMCSA noted that last month, along with state and local law enforcement partners, it conducted more than 3,000 surprise passenger-carrier safety inspections over a two-week period that resulted in 442 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from the nation?s roadways.

The joint strike force issued out-of-service citations to 127 drivers and 315 vehicles during the unannounced inspections that took place from May 1 ? 15, 2011.

?We are relentlessly targeting unsafe and illegal bus companies,? added Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. ?This [cease-and-desist and subpoena] action sends a strong message that the U.S. Department of Transportation will utilize every legal and enforcement tool available to shut down unsafe bus companies and protect passengers and motorists.?

A recent FleetOwner video featured FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro discussing why the annual Roadcheck safety-enforcement effort serves to remind all highway users how vital safe operation is on the road.


View the original article here