WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared two Canadian bus drivers employed by Mi Joo Tour & Travel of Coquitlam, British Columbia, to be imminent hazards to public safety, immediately prohibiting them from operating a commercial vehicle within the United States.
FMCSA launched an investigation of Mi Joo Tour & Travel following the Dec. 30, 2012, crash of a company bus in eastern Oregon. Nine passengers were killed and 39 others were injured. On Jan. 8, 2013, FMCSA ordered Mi Joo Tour & Travel, Ltd., to cease U.S. operations and revoked the company's authority to provide passenger service within the United States.
"We will not tolerate illegal and unsafe behavior by bus and truck drivers," said U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. "Safety for every traveler on our highways and roads is our highest priority."
In the continuing FMCSA investigation, the driver of the bus that crashed, Haeng Kyu (James) Hwang, was found to have been driving well beyond the 70-hour maximum hours of service within a seven-day period as permitted under federal regulations. Driver Choong Yurl Choi, who was operating a second Mi Joo bus as part of the same tour excursion trip, likewise was found to have been driving well beyond the 70-hour limit.
"Interstate bus and truck companies and their drivers should have no doubt that we will vigorously enforce all federal safety regulations to the fullest extent possible by law," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Carriers and drivers who flout the safety rules put the public at risk and will be shut down."
The investigation also found that on the day of the crash, both bus drivers had engaged in unsafe driving behavior, including operating a commercial passenger vehicle at speeds too fast for existing road conditions. Each driver holds a commercial driver's license issued by the province of British Columbia, Canada.
Copies of the imminent hazard out-of-service orders can be viewed at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/IH-Order-Haeng-K-Hwang.pdf and http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/IH-Order-Choong-Choi.pdf.
SOURCE: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
For further information:
Duane DeBruyne, +1-202-366-9999