OGA Charters, the bus company involved in Saturday’s crash that killed eight people and left 44 injured in Texas, was ordered twice in 2015 by Louisiana state inspectors to address brake and emergency exit issues on one of its buses, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records showed that regulators ordered OGA Charters to take the bus off the roads in May 2015 citing brake issues and once again in August after the problems worsened, the AP reported Sunday. According to records, OGA Charters reportedly operated two buses and the safety watchdog gave the company a “satisfactory” rating in May 2014.
The company was not involved in any crashes in the last two years before Saturday but inspectors had found 15 violations since 2014, the AP reported, citing records. The violations reportedly ranged from driver records and hours they were on the road, to vehicle maintenance problems. It was not immediately clear what steps the company took to resolve the issues.
According to the May 2015 inspection in Louisiana, an OGA Charters bus had problems with brake connections and leaks, the automatic brake adjustment system and a discolored windshield, the AP reported. The bus was reportedly put out of service because 20 percent or more of its brakes were defective. In August 2015, regulators found “general” brake problems in the same vehicle as well as the emergency exit issue, the report added. The company was once again ordered to take the bus out of service.
It remained unclear Sunday if the same bus was involved in the crash. The vehicle involved in Saturday’s accident also reported similar problems a few months after its initial inspection, Shaun Kildare, director of research for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks bus crashes and federal highway safety regulations, told the AP.
“We know this carrier had the vehicle violation problems,” Kildare said. “They apparently didn’t do anything. ... When they have vehicle problems they don’t fix, that’s a question.”
The bus involved in Saturday’s crash originated in San Juan, Texas, near the U.S. border with Mexico, and was heading to Eagle Pass, about 300 miles north, authorities reportedly said. The injured were taken to hospitals in Laredo and Carrizo Springs.