Safety Tips: Are You Safe on a Tour Bus? Learn What Questions To Ask

Investigators have shut down the South Bay company involved in the Feb. 3 fatal bus crash in San Bernardino County. Here's what you should know before taking a bus tour.

The federal government has ordered a South Bay tour bus company involved in a mass-casualty collision near Big Bear last weekend to cease operations immediately, declaring the carrier a hazard to public safety.

when a passenger coach operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC crashed into two other vehicle and overturned on Highway 38 in Mentone last Sunday. 

Friday's decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits the small bus company from National City from operating in the U.S. any longer.

“Safety is our number-one priority, and we will not tolerate unsafe bus companies on our nation's roads,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

A post-crash investigation of Scapadas Magicas' two other motor coaches found serious mechanical violations, and those buses were immediately taken out of service, according to federal officials.

The Associated Press reported the bus driver was having brake problems coming down the mountain on State Route 38. The bus rear-ended a sedan then flipped over and hit a pickup truck pulling a trailer.

What can be learned from the tragedy outside Yucaipa?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers safety tips for passengers looking to book a bus tour.

The agency provides a list of questions to ask motor coach agencies, such as:

  • Does the driver have a current Commercial Driver's License with a “passenger” qualification?
  • Has the driver been granted a valid medical certificate?
  • Does the company offer a drug and alcohol testing program for drivers that complies with the DOT?

The site also offers a list of qualifications drivers should have, vehicle standards, and other information.


– City News Service contributed to this report.

Ed Sorrels February 09, 2013 at 11:11 PM
This is just a general condenination of their maintenance procedures. The investigation will come to find that there specific defects in the brake operating systems caused by defered or just plain lack of maintenence. They have forged up their B.I.T. inspections and probably their Annual inspections also, This is the worse face of the tour bus industry and having delt with them for 40 or so years I personally would never set foot on a tour bus Especially a foreign operated one. They will be out of business soon and a month afger that under a different name and the names of son's or daughters be right back in business using the same business model, Defered maintenance = profit !


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