NEWS

B.C. suspends bus company involved in fatal Oregon crash

01/11/2013 06:18 EST | Updated 03/13/2013 05:12 EDT
The Port Coquitlam bus company involved in a fatal crash in Oregon last month has been suspended by the B.C. government for failing to properly track driver hours and pre-trip inspections.

The Ministry of Transportation announced Friday that the bus operations of Mi Joo Tour & Travel have been suspended immediately following a safety audit by the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) branch.

"The audit findings revealed that the company was not meeting its administrative obligations under B.C. law regarding driver hours of service and pre-trip inspections," said a statement released by B.C.'s Transportation Ministry.

The U.S. operations of the company were suspended earlier this week after a bus operated by the company skidded off a highway near Pendleton, Oregon on Dec. 30, killing nine people and injuring several more.

U.S. investigators allege Mi Joo allowed the driver to work for 92 hours in the eight days leading up to the crash — 22 more hours than the maximum allowable level of 70 over an eight-day period.

CVSE deputy director Perry Dennis says the company has a clean safety record and no history of major incidents since 2007, but they were unable to prove their operators weren't exceeding allowable hours of driving.

"When we went in there it became obvious," said Dennis.

"There were no records to prove they were monitoring drivers hours of service and the drivers were staying within the driving hours that are permitted."

The ministry says Mi Joo Tour & Travel will not be allowed to operate its buses in Canada until it can show it has measures in place to ensure its drivers are adhering to the regulations.

The company has been given until Feb. 28 to provide a detailed response.

The lawyer for the company has said black ice, not driver fatigue, was responsible for the tragedy.

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