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Charter Bus Company Held Accountable For Bus Accident

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FAYETTEVILLE — Four weeks ago, about two dozen Fayetteville students wereinjured when their bus crashed on I-95 in Georgia. The bus company hiredtotransport those students to a band competition is being held accountableby the industry that regulates them.

According to a new report from theFederalMotor Carrier SafetyAdministration, AMA Tours has received an unsatisfactory safetyrating. The report says the company violated drug andalcohol testing requirements, did not haveenough 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 itsmotor vehicles. The company has 45 days to improve its record.

Cumberland County school officials held their first Field Trip Task Forcemeeting Friday to come up with better guidelines when hiring charter buscompanies.

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

The bus driver involved in the accident, Darol Wayne Britt, is alsobeing cited by the DMV for driving a commercial vehicle while ill orfatigued. Authorities say they plan toissue 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 werehurt, so he should take responsibility for that," she says.

The report alleges that Britt was allowed to drive 20 hourswithout 8 hours of rest, which is required by law.

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

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