ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - After the ABC 7 News I-Team broke the story of a local tour bus driver using his iPad behind the wheel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now investigating the incident that a passenger caught on tape.
Bus drivers are supposed to keep their eyes on the road, but passengers on an America Bus & Limousine Service bus watched last weekend as their driver scrolled through his iPad while on the road. ABC 7 News went to the driver's house on Wednesday to ask him about what happened, but was told he wasn't in.
"Clearly, anything that's going to divert the driver's attention is a concern," said Victor Parra, the president and CEO of the United Motorcoach Association.
Parra says he is troubled by what he saw on the video, but wouldn't pull America Bus & Limousine Servicealso known as America Transportation Servicesfrom the group's website, BusRates.com, because it has a satisfactory record listed with the feds. The company has that rating, even though ABC 7 News discovered America Transportation Services has been flagged for intervention for unsafe driving and not conducting random drug and alcohol tests.
Parra added that these issues don't necessarily mean the company is a bad operator.
"It just means that there is an issue that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has brought to their attention that they need to deal with," he said.
Still, these are issues the UMA thinks you should know about; that's why its website links directly to federal safety records, so you can see before you book a ride.
"We encourage them to call the company and say, 'Hey, we see an alert. What are you doing about it?'" Parra said.
ABC 7 News repeatedly tried to ask America Transportation Services about the alerts on its record, as well as additional details regarding the fatal accidents also listed on the FMCSA website. On Wednesday, ATS's phone was constantly busy, and the company failed to respond to emails asking for comment.
UMA says companies you're booking with should be willing to answer questions about what is in their safety reports before you choose to ride. You also need to make sure the company has proper insurance and the authority to operate.