The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that AMA Tours Unlimited Inc., of Fayetteville, NC, a for-hire passenger carrier, was served with a “Notice of Claim” letter for $35,500 in civil penalties. The action taken by FMCSA shows that the agency is cracking down or both passenger and freight carriers.
“We will continue to strictly enforce the federal motor carrier regulations against those truck and bus companies and commercial drivers that mistakenly take safety lightly, said FMCSA acting deputy administrator Julie Anna Cirillo. “This also underscores the Bush Administration’s commitment to reduce the number of truck-related crashes on our highways.”
FMCSA conducted a safety audit of AMA following an April 6 crash involving a tour bus that was under subcontract to AMA. The accident occurred near Kingsland, GA, and resulted in 22 high school-age children being injured.
FMCSA uses the notice of claim to initiate civil actions for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The claim letter alleges that AMA Tours Unlimited committed multiple violations of the FMCSRs.
FMCSA alleged that AMA allowed its driver, Darol Wayne Britt, to drive 20 hours without 8 consecutive hours off-duty. Current federal regulations require large truck and bus drivers to drive no more than 10 consecutive hours, followed by 8 consecutive hours off duty.
FMCSA investigators issued a proposed unsatisfactory safety rating and cited AMA president Alphonso Haigler for violations involving drug and alcohol testing requirements, qualification of drivers, hours-of-service requirements, and inspection and maintenance of motor vehicles. The company reportedly employs seven drivers and operates four motor coaches.