Why Federal Regulators Ordered Bus Company to Stop Operation

Why Federal Regulators Ordered Bus Company to Stop Operation

We are fierce proponents of common carriers (defined here) regulating themselves. A cost for this, a license for that. By the time your done, there is no money left. Unfortunately, the rising prices of gas and regulations, make it very hard to turn a profit. So companies cut corners to stay in business. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have ordered a tour bus operator to cease operations immediately, after being involved in a Southern California crash.

The Crashes

The crash involving Scapadas Magicas L.L.C. based in National City California (learn more), was involved in a crash in Southern California resulting in the deaths of eight people. Friday Federal regulators ordered the company to stop operation of its three buses stating they pose an “imminent hazard” to the public.

In February 3, 1996 the bus crash (read here), the cause of the crash was questioned by investigators, when the driver said the brakes failed, prior to the bus hitting a sedan that flipped over, hitting a pickup truck east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino Mountains. The bus was in route to Tijuana Mexico at the time of the crash and was transporting 38 passengers and a tour guide.

Mechanical Violations

Friday regulators said the investigation of the company after the crash found that two other buses that were in operation within the United States had mechanical safety violations. The inspectors found the company had failed to have regular inspections for the buses prior to the crash, and when the vehicles were inspected they had multiple break issues and numerous other violations. There is no indication on what the inspections cost, but bus companies have to comply with all sorts of federal and state agencies, and the costs are enormous to keep all those regulatory agents employed.

According to the order to cease operations of the companies buses, there were maintenance violations cited during 21 of the latest 25 vehicle inspections, this equaled 36 percent of the buses being put out of service. Transportation regulators reviewed the company compliance in January, they found breakdowns had been identified and the company’s safety management systems. They determined Scapadas Magicas failed to take action in remedying the issues in safety management.

We have yet to hear the side of the bus company. It does appear that they cut corners. Should the government agencies streamline the regs, so bus companies can afford to comply? We hear stories of truckers using the trailer brakes and cheap retreads to cope with fuel costs and regs. Is this different?


People need to reconsider the causes and effects of the costs involved in complying with regulations, while at the same time, common carriers need to regulate themselves.

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