Tour bus

A tour bus from L.A. rear-ended a big rig on California 99 in Tulare, sending more than a dozen passengers to the hospital, officials said. (KTLA)

A tour bus from L.A. rear-ended a big rig just before midnight Monday, sending more than a dozen passengers to hospitals, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision happened as the bus was traveling northbound on California 99 in Tulare, said CHP Officer Scott Harris.

The bus was carrying 35 passengers in the slow lane when it approached the big rig and struck it from behind, Harris said. It’s unclear what caused the crash.

Harris said there were no reports of bad weather or fog in the area at the time of the crash.

Fifteen people, including the 60-year-old driver, were taken to hospitals with minor injuries and another 17 were bumped and bruised but not transported.

The bus was en route from Los Angeles to Yakima, Wash.

Bus operator Fronteras del Norte, based in Huntington Park, shuttles passengers up and down the west coast, between Washington state and the border with Mexico, according to its website.

According to regulatory records, Fronteras del Norte has had several serious violations relating to driver hours and vehicle maintenance.

Last month, the company was cited for several serious violations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency that regulates passenger buses, including failing to keep records of drivers’ hours, filing false reports of hours, and failure to keep logs of vehicle inspections performed by drivers.

In the past two years, the company received more than 200 vehicle maintenance violations, ranging from a broken cab door to defective brakes and insufficient emergency exits and has been placed on a “watch list” for follow-up by the agency, according to inspection records.

The company did not return a request for comment.

Late last month, the agency ordered another Los Angeles bus carrier to immediately cease operations because of widespread safety problems, saying the company presented an “imminent hazard” to its drivers, and passengers and to motorists.

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Twitter: @cmaiduc

christine.maiduc@latimes.com