From the US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rules and Regulations:
(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:
(1) More than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty; or(2) For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver's services, for any period after—
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered a Conyers-based bus line to stop transporting passengers for violating safety regulations, as part of a nation-wide crackdown on high risk motorcoach companies.
Top Class Bus Company, LLC, was ordered to immediately cease all passenger transportation services for disregarding federal safety regulations and putting the company's own drivers, passengers, and the motoring public at risk, according to a released statement.
The imminent hazard/operations-out-of-service order, issued Thursday, Feb. 14, prohibits Top Class Bus Company from any type of commercial passenger service and it blocks the unapproved use of its buses by another company or any driver.
During an unannounced, four-day investigation, FMCSA investigators found that Top Class Bus Company, which operates fixed-route passenger service primarily between Atlanta and New York City, failed to monitor and ensure that its drivers comply with drivers' hours-of-service requirements. Federal regulations require drivers work no more than 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off. If they've driven 15 hours, they need to be off for more than eight consecutive hours before working again.
FMCSA’s investigators also found that Top Class failed to comply with records-of-duty status requirements, qualification requirements, and controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements.
FMCSA safety investigators further found that Top Class Bus Company permitted its drivers to falsify records-of-duty status in an attempt to conceal hours-of-service violations. The company owners were also found to have ignored critical vehicle equipment deficiencies identified by their drivers on required daily inspection reports.
"Bus companies that operate outside the law, putting lives at risk, will be immediately taken off the road and closed for business," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"Secretary LaHood and I announced a nationwide safety crackdown on high-risk motorcoach companies," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "While this particular investigation was initiated earlier, it symbolizes our commitment to take immediate action and shut down an entire company if it willfully disregards the law, jeopardizing the safety of everyone."
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/Top-Class-Bus-Company-IH-Order.pdf.