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Bus company declared immediate hazard, shut down after safety inspection

Written by Steve Gursten Posted August 29th, 2014

Just how many more On Eagles Wings are there, as FMCSA shuts down dangerous Minnesota bus company

On Eagles Wings Charters shut down

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Lakeville, Minn.-based On Eagles Wings Charters, Inc., to immediately cease all passenger transportation operations. The FMSCA found the bus company was endangering the public because of the condition of its buses and the safety records and training of its  drivers.

The move comes at a time when safety in the bus and motor coach industry is at the forefront following a rash of deadly  accidents  — including this horrible semi-truck on bus accident in California that left 10 people dead.

The FMCSA investigation found that On Eagles Wings Charters had failed to ensure that its buses were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, as the company is required to do under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Five of the company’s commercial buses were inspected by officers. Of the five motor coaches, four vehicles were immediately ordered out-of-service for serious safety defects.

Remember, for certain violations, the agency has the power to immediately place individual commercial buses or large transport trucks out of service, as well as dangerous truck or bus drivers who are not following the rules. By extension, the agency can also place an entire company out of operation — as was done here.

When the dust settled, investigators noted 40 separate safety violations were recorded for the four motor coaches. including inoperative brakes and broken frame rails. One of the buses was cited for inoperative brakes on one axle and multiple air leaks in the braking system. In other words, the brakes were barely functioning.

As if these vehicle infractions were not enough, investigators also found that that the company had failed to ensure its drivers were properly qualified, licensed and adhering to federal hours-of-service rules to prevent fatigued driving.

In my career as an attorney who has litigated many serious bus accident cases, what happened with On Eagles Wings Charters is not uncommon. They just got caught. While it’s a good thing this dangerous bus company is off of the road because it protects the public, it highlights just how much more work needs to be done.

Bus companies who don’t give a damn about safety and that choose not to enforce safety put all of us at risk.

It also begs the question: Just how many more On Eagles Wings are there out there, waiting to be discovered? And does this happen before a deadly crash by the FMCSA, or after by police investigators and attorneys helping the victims?

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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