Why Did Federal Regulators Order a Bus Company to Stop Operations?

Why Did Federal Regulators Order a Bus Company to Stop Operations?

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

So What About The Recent California Bus Crashes?

The accident involving Scapadas Magicas L.L.C. based in National City California (learn more), was in a collision 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.

On February 3, 1996, (read here), the cause of the accident was questioned by investigators. But this was after the driver said the brakes failed before the bus hit a sedan that flipped over. Sadly, it hit a pickup truck east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino Mountains. The bus was en route to Tijuana Mexico at the time of the crash. In fact, it was transporting 38 passengers and a tour guide.

What Were the Mechanical Violations?

Friday, regulators said two other buses in operation within the United States had mechanical safety violations. The inspectors found the company had failed to have regular inspections for the buses before the crash.

And the inspection of the vehicles revealed that they had multiple brake issues and numerous other violations. Also, there is no indication on what the inspections had cost. But bus companies must comply with all sorts of federal and state agency directives.

Most of all, the costs are enormous to keep all those regulatory agents employed. The order to cease operations cited during 21 of the latest 25 vehicle inspections had violations. So this equaled 36% of the fleet out of service. Transportation regulators reviewed the company compliance in January; they also identified other breakdowns. Also, the company’s safety management systems failed. They determined Scapadas Magicas failed to take action in remedying the issues.

But 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 operators 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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