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FMCSA shuts down bus company with dangerous safety record

Written by Steve Gursten Posted April 13th, 2013

New York and Boston motor carrier Fung Wah has been shut down indefinitely for refusing to cooperate with the FMCSA during safety investigation

Fung Wah Bus shut down

In July 2012, President Obama signed into law the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21).  The Act included many important provisions aimed at helping the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA) achieve its goals of regulating large trucks and buses, reducing crashes and making American highways safer.

For the most part, this legislation packs a serious punch, and the founding and affiliated attorneys of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable strongly support it.  In fact, during the terms of founding Roundtable attorneys Michael Leizerman and Steven Gursten as Chair/President of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, both worked hard for the enactment of such legislation.  Michael Leizerman, as the current Public Affairs Officer for the litigation group, continues to push for safer federal legislation.

For the first time ever pursuant to this legislation, the FMCSA recently shut down a dangerous bus company with a horrendous safety record for refusing to cooperate with an ongoing FMCSA safety investigation.

The FMCSA ordered Fung Wah Buses, a company operating between New York City and Boston, to shut down immediately.

Fung Wah’s safety record is downright disturbing:

  • In 2006, the FMCSA fined the company $31,110 after one of its buses was involved in a serious rollover crash in Massachusetts.
  • Forty eight people were injured in that crash.  Some of the injuries were very serious.
  • The company was further fined for drivers exceeding the speed limit, and for drivers not being proficient in English.
  • That same year, the company was fined an additional amount in excess of $12,000 for various safety violations.
  • In a 2005 incident, a Fung Wah bus caught fire only moments after passengers were evacuated from the bus.

Perhaps most telling of all, according to the FMCSA, Fung Wah is in the bottom 3%  nationwide for driver fitness, which evaluates training and experience.

Having successfully litigated hundreds of bus accident cases, the attorneys of the Roundtable know all too well how dangerous and destructive crashes involving irresponsible bus companies can be.  Fung Wah is the kind of company we hate to hear about; the kind that will hurt people.

The FMCSA was investigating the company, and 21 of their 28 buses were already off the road pending FMCSA inspections.

Then Fung Wah suddenly decided to stop cooperating with the agency.  It refused to produce portions of its safety record.  The FMCSA responded by shutting Fung Wah down indefinitely, ordering their remaining seven buses out of operation.  This was done pursuant to MAP-21, which allows the FMCSA to revoke the operating authority registration of a motor carrier that fails to comply with an administrative subpoena or a letter demanding release of company safety records.

MAP-21 is a very powerful and welcome tool in the fight against unsafe bus companies.  Recently we discussed the string of deadly bus crashes across the U.S.  It’s more important than ever that the FMCSA is able to effectively fight against dangerous bus companies who put lives at risk by cutting corners on safety.  It is sad and disturbing that there are companies like Fung Wah out there, but this shows that FMCSA is serious about getting them off the road.

And remember, as a consumer, you can take actions to protect yourself if you look before you book your next bus trip.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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