Local News

Charter Bus Company Held Accountable For Bus Accident

Posted May 4, 2001 5:56 a.m. EDT

— Four weeks ago, about two dozen Fayetteville students were injured when their bus crashed on I-95 in Georgia. The bus company hired to transport those students to a band competition is being held accountable by the industry that regulates them.

According to a new report from theFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, AMA Tours has received an unsatisfactory safety rating. The report says the company violated drug and alcohol testing requirements, did not have enough qualified drivers and there were issues with the hours of service required by those drivers.

AMA Tours was also cited for the inspection and maintenance of its motor vehicles. The company has 45 days to improve its record.

Cumberland County school officials held their first Field Trip Task Force meeting Friday to come up with better guidelines when hiring charter bus companies.

"We cannot comment on the report or the specifics of the report, however we can say that any company that has an unsatisfactory safety rating will not be transporting students from Cumberland County Schools," says Sara Piland, spokeswoman for Cumberland County Schools.

The bus driver involved in the accident, Darol Wayne Britt, is also being cited by the DMV for driving a commercial vehicle while ill or fatigued. Authorities say they plan to issue him a notice of claim, which involves a civil penalty. However, officials have not been able to locate Britt.

Joyce Evans, whose son, Brian, just got out of the hospital Wednesday, says he should come forward to face the music.

"These kids -- it wasn't their fault that they were there and they were hurt, so he should take responsibility for that," she says.

The report alleges that Britt was allowed to drive 20 hours without 8 hours of rest, which is required by law.

AMA Tours faces more than $35,000 in fines. Attorneys for the bus company say they want to stress that both Britt and the bus involved in the accident were not employees or part of AMA.