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Firm in Ore. bus crash told to halt US operations

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm •  Published: January 8, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation has revoked a Canadian travel company's authority to provide passenger service in the United States after determining a driver was not properly rested when his bus crashed on an Oregon highway last month, killing nine passengers and injuring 38.

The "imminent hazard" order filed Tuesday alleges that Mi Joo Tour & Travel fails to take basic measures to ensure its drivers are properly rested and routinely dispatches drivers without regard to hours of service requirements. The driver in the Oregon crash, Haeng Kyu Hwang of Vancouver, British Columbia, had been on duty for 92 hours in the eight-day stretch before the tragedy, exceeding the 70-hour federal limit, according to the findings of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigation.

"The safety of all travelers on our highways and roads remains our highest priority," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "We will move quickly to shut down bus companies that do not operate safely."

In another development, the agency said it suspended the company's authority to operate for two months early last year because the firm didn't pay a fine for failing to meet U.S. requirements for drug and alcohol testing.

Edward Kang, the owner of Mi Joo Tour & Travel, said in an email late Tuesday that the company is fully cooperating with the investigation. He declined to answer questions pertaining to the Transportation Department's order.

"Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anymore," he wrote.

The Oregon State Police and National Transportation Safety Board have yet to say what caused the Dec. 30 crash on Interstate 84 east of Pendleton.

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