ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Federal documents show the bus that caught fire along the interstate in Rowan County Tuesday morning, with 80 people on board, has a history of safety violations. Four people were injured in the fire.
The bus is owned by Yep Tour, Inc based in Worcester, Mass.
According to records maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the bus that caught fire Tuesday morning has been cited for safety violations at least three times in the past twelve months.
Most recently, on December 17, 2014, the motor carrier enforcement officers in New York cited the bus for not having a fire extinguisher or having an extinguisher that was discharged or unsecured.
Two weeks earlier, On December 4, 2014, New York officers cited the bus for having no or defective emergency bus exits. That violation required the bus to be taken out of service until the repairs could be made.
Prior to that, New York officers had found a list of violations during an inspection on October 19, 2014. Records show the bus was cited for operating in an unsafe manner, failing to secure vehicle equipment, an oil and/or grease leak and having no or inadequate emergency exit markings, among other things.
Records maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show Yep buses have been taken out of service at least 54 times in the past 12 months.
A bus is taken out of service by motor carrier enforcement officers when they find a problem that is considered to be too dangerous for the vehicle to stay on the road. The vehicle can be placed back into service once the problem is fixed.
According to FMCSA records, Yep Tour buses were taken out of service six times just in 2015 for having either no emergency exit or defective emergency exits. Two of those citations came in July alone.
The company was cited four times in 2015 for either missing a fire extinguisher or having one that was discharged or not properly secured. A Yep Tour bus was most recently cited for a fire extinguisher violation on July 2, 2015.
Other violations found on Yep Tour buses include oil and gas leaks and wiring that had no or improper protection.
Federal records also show a Yep Tour bus was involved in an accident in North Carolina in August 2014. Records show one person was injured in the crash but it is not clear whether the person injured was a passenger on the bus or someone in another vehicle.