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Three North Carolina bus companies shut down over safety concerns

Paying $30 to take a bus ride from Fayetteville to New York seemed like a good deal for many residents who were looking for a cheap way to travel. But when a Sky Express bus crashed last year killing four people and injuring as many as 50 other people, the company was shut down and federal regulators began investigating the safety of Sky Express and similar bus line companies.

As a result of federal investigators' findings after the fatal accident, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced last week that it has ordered 26 bus line companies to shut down operations. The FMCSA says that these companies have committed serious violations that have put the lives of passengers and others on the road at risk. Three of the lines that have been shut down are companies that operated out of North Carolina.

Federal regulators said that the companies were shut down because of the severity of the violations that had been discovered and because of the number of violations that were repeated amongst the companies. During investigations, regulators discovered the following safety violations that had been committed by the bus lines:

  • Failing to implement policies and procedures to test bus drivers for alcohol or drug use
  • Hiring individuals without commercial driver's licenses or proper qualifications to operate buses
  • Failing to inspect or repair buses

The 26 companies all operated along Interstate 95, transporting nearly 2,000 passengers each day.

The actions taken by the government last week should send a strong message to other transportation companies that operate in North Carolina and throughout the entire U.S. that they are responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers and others on our roads. Failing to train drivers, failing to obtain proper insurance and failing to repair vehicles that carry dozens of passengers at a time could result in damaging consequences for countless individuals.

Source: fayobserver.com, "Bus lines shut down for safety violations," Greg Barnes, June 1, 2012

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