The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered a Pennsylvania-based commercial busing company to cease its operations entirely over serious violations uncovered by a comprehensive safety compliance review.
Authorities found RLT Tours of Lake Pond, Pennsylvania, in violation of multiple safety regulations, including hours-of-service requirements, mandatory insurance requirements, vehicle maintenance standards, and compliance with drug and alcohol testing.
While the vast majority of bus charter companies takes safety seriously, every now and then inspections turn up a company that operates with little regard for the law and the safety of its passengers, its drivers, and other motorists. Too often, commercial bus accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities involve bus companies that are operating either illegally and in serious violation of critical safety standards.
The FMCSA will not allow RLT Tours to resume its transportation services until the company takes corrective action and shows it is in compliance with federal safety regulations. The motor carrier also was issued a civil penalty of $8,640 for the violations.
Data collected by the Transportation Department’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) revealed 247 bus crashes resulting 307 fatalities occurred in 2008. An additional 14,045 non-fatal bus accidents were reported the same year, causing 17,148 injuries.
Although the number of fatal traffic accidents involving buses and other commercial vehicles has declined over the last 20 years, federal regulators say the rates are still unacceptably high and much remains to be done to improve safety on the nation’s roads and highways.
In February 2008, FMCSA launched a field test of its new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Operational Model, with subsequent expansions and improvements. The new model is designed to measure unsafe driving behaviors and patterns more efficiently and effectively, thereby reducing the risks drivers and passengers must face when commercial carriers disregard the law.