The spokesperson was unable to explain why FMCSA did not exercise its swift shutdown-and-scrutinize authority against Fung Wah sooner, or why the feds employed scheduled audits of easily-faked paperwork rather than conducting rigorous spot checks of actual vehicles.
Fung Wah remains suspended from operating passenger vehicles anywhere in the country until the company submits to federal inspections of its fleet and paperwork. The FMCSA is eager to resume its inspections as part of its "intense focus on preemptive activity for high-risk carriers," according to an agency spokesperson. The spokesperson added, "price should not be only the determinant of which bus carrier you take." Consider yourself warned.
As Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood noted after two fatal bus accidents in Oregon and California in the past six weeks, there can be "tragic consequences when motorcoach companies cut corners and do not make safety a top priority." The same tragic consequences too often bear out when regulators fail to do their diligence. With the literal smoke signals Fung Wah was sending up, state and feds failed to connect some critical dots for far too long.
The internal emails and inspection records featured in this report were released to public records watchdog MuckRock.
: News Features
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