WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Lakeville, Minn.-based On Eagles Wings Charters, Inc., USDOT No. 1100785, to immediately cease all passenger transportation operations after finding that the company was endangering the traveling public by failing to ensure the safety of its vehicles and drivers.
“Safety is our highest priority and we will continue to insist that bus and truck companies also put safety of the motoring public first and foremost,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Companies that choose to disregard vital safety regulations and put innocent lives at needless risk will be prohibited from operating on our highways and roads.”
FMCSA safety investigators found that On Eagles Wings Charters had failed to ensure that its buses were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained. Of five motorcoaches available for dispatch and inspected onsite as part of the federal investigation, four vehicles were immediately ordered out-of-service for serious safety defects. In all, 40 separate safety violations were recorded for the four vehicles, including inoperative brakes and broken frame rails. The fifth motorcoach inspected was cited for inoperative brakes on one axle and multiple air leaks in the braking system, as well as a damaged windshield.
Investigators also found that that the company had failed to ensure that its drivers were properly qualified, licensed and adhering to federal hours-of-service limitations to prevent fatigued driving. On Eagles Wings Charters was cited for missing records of duty status, exceeding hours of service limitations, and falsifying records of duty status.
Individually and cumulatively, these violations substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to On Eagles Wings Charters and the motoring public.
“Our FMCSA safety investigators and inspectors will continue to work diligently to block unsafe commercial drivers from getting behind the wheel, and dangerous buses and trucks from getting on the road,” said Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Compliance with our safety regulations is not optional because even a seemingly minor infraction can potentially lead to a tragic consequence.”
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/ihoos-eagles-wings-charters-inc
As part of FMCSA's work to make safety data readily available to the traveling public, the SaferBus mobile app gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. The app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA's "Look Before You Book" webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.
Travelers planning a bus trip are also encouraged to think safety first before buying a ticket or chartering a bus by using FMCSA's multilingual passenger carrier safety checklist at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/lookbeforeyoubook.
FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle, or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA's consumer complaint web site: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp.
Consumers who bought a ticket on a bus company that FMCSA has recently placed out-of-service may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act if they paid for the ticket by credit card. For more information, visit: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/bus-credit-refund.aspx.