U.S. Department of Transportation Declares Georgia-based Top Class Bus Company an "Imminent Hazard," Ordered to Immediately Shut Down

Feb 15, 2013, 18:35 ET from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Atlanta-based Top Class Bus Company, LLC, to immediately cease all passenger transportation services for blatantly disregarding federal safety regulations and putting the company's own drivers, passengers, and the motoring public at risk.

The imminent hazard/operations-out-of-service order issued today by FMCSA 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.

"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.

"Yesterday, 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."

During an unannounced, four-day investigation, a team of FMCSA safety 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. 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.

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.

SOURCE Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration