FMCSA shuts down bus company after fatal wreck

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 2/12/2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an “imminent hazard out-of-service order” for a bus company whose driver wrecked last week in California, killing seven passengers.
On Feb. 3, a bus operated by Scapadas Magicas, LLC was making a return trip to Tijuana, Mexico, after a ski trip in southern California when it rolled on a mountain highway and crashed into two other vehicles near San Bernardino, CA. Besides the seven passenger fatalities, one of the other vehicle drivers was killed and dozens of bus passengers were injured.
Smoke billowed from the bus’s undercarriage and the driver told police the bus’s brakes had failed, according to the out-of-service order. FMCSA found the company had been cited 21 times for improper vehicle maintenance during its last 25 inspections.
“Safety is our number one priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a news release, “and we will not tolerate unsafe bus companies on our nation’s roads.”
The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, FMCSA and local law enforcement.
“After the tragic crash earlier this week, FMCSA investigators quickly inspected this carrier’s other two buses, which had been operated on U.S. roads, and immediately shut them down,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in the days following the wreck. “Today we’ve officially blocked the company from conducting future operations in the United States.”
After the wreck, FMCSA said it also found “serious mechanical safety violations” with the company’s two other motor coach vehicles.
FMCSA said the company also failed to ensure its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained and repaired, and didn’t require its drivers to be qualified and licensed.
FMCSA’s full order can be read here.

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