TULSA - During summer, many travel to camps and events by charter bus.
Charter busses have made headlines recently after being involved in a crash or catching fire.
"When there is a problem with a bus it's a big event," said Michael Kraft, owner of Kraftours in Tulsa. "There are a lot of people involved, and it gets lots of attention. It attracts attention from the media. It attracts attention from the public. It attracts attention from the government."
Five students and five adults were killed in a violent crash on a California highway. In Georgia, a charter bus carrying a group of boy scouts caught fire. Fortunately no one was hurt.
In May, a bus carrying students from Lawton caught fire in Tulsa . Witnesses say a tire started sparking. Everyone got off the bus before the flames overtook it, leaving only the shell.
"When we got off the bus I was crying. I was like, 'What's happening, our bus is on fire!,'" said Tiffany who was on the bus.
The students were headed to an archery competition in Kentucky. The fire claimed only their luggage and no one was injured.
We found a National Transportation Safety Board report from 2011 that showed some alarming statistics.
Department of Transportation regulations call for busses to be inspected every two years. But the NTSB found that only 64 percent were inspected at least once between 2009 and 2011.
More than 1,200 motorcoach carriers had been involved in at least one reported accident from 2005 to 2010, and 262 people died.
Michael Kraft says a lot has changed in the last few years. He says about the time that DOT report came out the government stepped up enforcement. His busses are inspected annually by Oklahoma Highway Patrol, every two years by DOT, and about every 18 months for his military agreement.
"We are about three or four years into a big push by the DOT and early on there may have been some companies who were trying to skirt the rules, but I think they have all gotten the message," Kraft said.
He says that "big push" makes bus fleets more safe on the road. But what about the other incidents. Kraft says sometimes things happen on the roads. He says if you are booking a charter company, it's best to do your homework.
-- Get references. Every bus company has a DOT number that you can plug into their website and see their history, inspections, and if they are in compliance.
-- Visit the company and see the busses yourself. Price alone, he says, should not be your determining factor.
"Sitting on the side of the road after getting a terrific price is not the most rewarding experience," Kraft said.
Kraftours has a satisfactory rating, zero crashes and not a single vehicle towed in the past two years.