CHARLOTTE — Safety experts say travelers still need to do their homework before booking and boarding charter buses.
After an eight-month investigation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down more than 50 companies nationwide and pulled 340 vehicles off the road.
The move came after two deadly accidents in the past year.
“Everybody is trying to make a living. Unfortunately, they’re pushing the envelope and the envelope is closing in on them from the FMCSA,” said Tom Holden, with Rose Chauffeured Transportation.
Spaulding Charters and Tours, which has an office on Eastway Drive in Charlotte, is one of the 52 companies shut down. Records show they had 31 violations during a two year period, ranging from cracked or broken wheels or rims, inadequate bus records and a driver was cited for failing to understand highway traffic signs in English.
“I’m familiar with the company but have not done business with them,” said Randy London, a consultant with Professional Safety Support.
He says this latest crackdown is a step in the right direction, but it’s now up to investigators to make sure these companies stay off the road until they fix the problem.
“There are companies right now operating, that have legally been shut down by the Feds or the state, and they find someone to hook up with the next day and they’re operating as business as usual,” said London.
Before booking or boarding a bus, London and Holden say research is key. All safety records and reports are on the FMCSA website. Information can be easily located by the bus DOT number, which should always be displayed.
“You see any warnings, whatsoever, you better wake up and pay attention to your homework,” said Holden.
There is also an app available on iPhone and Android devices, called SaferBus. It is run by the FMCSA.