Are you planning a bus trip? There is more to consider than just price and convenience!
If you are purchasing a personal ticket or hiring a bus company for your group’s travel, SAFETY should be a top priority. Don’t risk your life or the lives of others by making an uninformed decision. Select a bus company that complies with Federal requirements enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Listed below are some important facts you should verify before you select a bus company to transport you or members of your group.
- Safety Performance History: Check the bus company’s safety performance results.
- Safety Rating: FMCSA rates bus companies’ safety performance. The top rating is satisfactory. Bus companies with a conditional safety rating may pose a higher risk, and companies with a final unsatisfactory safety rating should not be operating.
- Operating Authority and Insurance Requirements: Bus companies charging a fee to provide interstate transportation must obtain operating authority from FMCSA. If the company operates a bus that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, it must have a minimum of $5 million in insurance coverage.
Consumer Complaints: If you want to make a safety violation complaint, call FMCSA’s toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday Eastern Time or visit FMCSA’s consumer complaint site (http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp).
If you observe a safety emergency, please call 911. You can check out the safety information and more at FMCSA’s Web site: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/pcs/Index.aspx
Make the choice to put safety first! Every trip, every time.
Whether or not you are working from a list of pre-qualified bus companies, ask the following questions:
- Does the driver have a current commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement?
- Does the driver possess a valid medical certificate?
- Does the company have a driver drug and alcohol testing program that complies with U.S. DOT regulations?
- Will your trip be completed within the legal limit of 10 driving hours? If not, will there be a second driver or overnight rest stop scheduled to legally complete the trip?
- Does the company have its buses inspected annually? By whom?
- Does the company have the required $5 million of public liability insurance?
- Does the company subcontract with others for equipment and/or drivers? If so, what is the name of the second bus company and its USDOT number?
- Does the company have notification procedures for roadside emergencies and breakdowns? Is the driver equipped with a wireless communications device?
Source: USDOT, FMCSA Bus Safety Checklist: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/safety-security/PCS-Checklist.pdf
Source: USDOT, FMCSA Guide to Hiring Bus Companies for Student Activities: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/kids/Guide-Hire-Bus-Co-Student-Act-508.pdf