California struggles to inspect private tour buses

October 8, 2008 

The fatal crash Sunday of a casino-bound bus in Colusa County has raised concerns about the state's ability to regulate a growing trade of mom-and-pop companies ferrying thousands of gamblers daily to local casinos.

Investigators said Tuesday they are still piecing together basic information about the Sacramento bus company and rookie bus driver behind California's worst intercity bus crash in at least 15 years.

Eight people were killed Sunday evening when a Cobb's Bus Service coach carrying 43 people tumbled into a watery ditch on a thin, straight stretch of rural road south of the Colusa Casino Resort.

The bus does not appear to have been registered as required with state regulators. The incident has CHP officials talking about reassessing their oversight practices.

"We would like to think people aren't lying to us and trying to hide stuff," CHP spokesman Robert Kays said. "We are looking for ways we can catch these rogue buses. We have the same concerns the public has. We want people to be safe on our highways."

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