WASHINGTON, DC – At the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has issued a temporary restraining order against Double Happyness Travel, Inc. of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., that prohibits the company from operating in or affecting interstate passenger transportation service.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will not tolerate irresponsible bus companies that jeopardize the safety of bus passengers and other motorists.”
FMCSA requested the temporary restraining order based on evidence that Double Happyness was selling bus tickets and conducting bus trips in direct violation of the agency’s previous orders to immediately cease all transportation operations.
FMCSA initially declared Double Happyness an “imminent hazard to safety,” revoked its operating authority and ordered its officers to shut down all transportation operations effective Dec. 23, 2011. This imminent hazard out-of-service order followed an extensive review of the company, which found multiple violations of hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, and controlled substance and alcohol testing rules.
On Jan. 5, 2012, FMCSA issued a cease and desist order against Double Happyness after FMCSA investigators and state police discovered the company was still operating and selling tickets in violation of the agency’s previous shutdown order. The temporary restraining order against Double Happyness enforces FMCSA’s earlier orders.
“FMCSA is committed to saving lives. We will continue to use every legal, roadside enforcement tool at our disposal to protect the traveling public and remove unsafe bus companies from our roads.” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
Before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel, consumers are encouraged to review the Department of Transportation’s “Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time” pre-trip safety checklist. The list helps consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and DOT’s operating authority. The checklist is available online at FMCSA’s Passenger Bus Safety Web site: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/Index.aspx. FMCSA encourages consumers 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 National Consumer Complaint Database.
Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside motorcoach inspections have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.
Additionally, over the last two years DOT has taken action to reduce distracted driving by commercial truck and bus drivers. In January 2010, FMCSA banned texting by commercial drivers, and in November 2011 the agency prohibited commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers who violate these restrictions would face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and revocation of their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for multiple offenses. Additionally, states would suspend a driver’s CDL after two or more violations of any state law against hand-held cell phone use.