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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 21st, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

Top 3 Things to Know Before Booking a Bus Trip

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by Zane Cagle

Bus Trip App downloadBus travel is one of the most popular, least expensive and safest ways to travel. When there are over 4,000 registered, for-hire motor coach companies of which to choose, it is important for you to choose one that will ensure your travelers arrive and return safely.

The Saferbus Mobile App provides 24/7 access to important safety information that you should verify before selecting a bus company including operating authority and insurance status, safety performance records, and safety results as discussed in this article

Learn the top three things you need to know regarding safety according to FMCSA  as well as price before you book your next bus trip:

Choose a Safe Company:  In general, interstate, for hire-passenger carrier operating a motor coach MUST:

  • Have both a USDOT number and an operation authority registration from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which is the government agency responsible for the enforcement of laws relating to commercial motor vehicles.
  • Maintain insurance coverage of at least $5million
  • Provide accessible motor coach services, which means being equipped with wheelchair lifts and securement areas for individuals with disabilities in according with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Transpiration and ADA regulations
  • Safety Rating–FMCSA issues three types of ratings: Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory.  Satisfactory is the best rating. Bus companies with Conditional ratings may pose  a higher safety risk. Bus companies with Unsatisfactory should not be operating and does not have adequate safety management controls to ensure compliance with FMCSA.  If a bus company does not have a rating then they have not had their operations evaluated against FMCSA safety fitness standards
  • Safety Performance: FMCSA measures the safety performance of bus companies in key safety and compliance areas as part of the Agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). This system provides an assessment of the motor carrier’s safety and compliance performance in the form of Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASICs.  What kind of bus accidents have occurred for the particular carrier?

Find a Safe Driver

  • Drivers who are employed by for-hire motor coach companies MUST have: a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement and a valid medical examiner’s certificate
  • A CDL with passenger endorsement means they have met the Federal regulation to operate a commercial vehicle designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver
  • A valid medical examiner’s certificate indicates they have a medical examiner’s certificate indicating they are in compliance with applicable physical qualifications requirements
  • A Safe Driver SHOULD – have a history of safe driving experience
  • Other questions to ask of the bus company before you book—“Does the company prohibit drivers texting or using a cell phone while driving?” “Does the company have a drug and alcohol testing program?”

Plan a Safe Trip

  • Know the rules, follow the rules and keep your group safe.  It is critical that you allow enough time to reach your destination. It is important to remember that motor coach drivers MUST comply with Federal hours-of-service regulations, which state:
  • No interstate motor coach driver can drive more than 10 consecutive hours
  • No interstate bus drive can drive for any period after having been “on duty” for an extended period:  60 hours in any 7 consecutive days (if the driver’s employer DOES NOT operate every day of the week) and 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days (if the driver’s employer DOES operate every day of the week”
  • If the length and duration of your trip requires consecutive hours of driving beyond those allowed by law, be certain that you have a safe back-up driver available.

Because commercial bus accidents are not as common as car accidents, truck accidents or motorcycle accidents, some of us might tend to book a bus ticket on price alone, however, you should check into the safety precautions that the bus carrier takes and the policies they have to stay in Satisfactory standing with the FMCSA.  In August of 2012, a double decker bus crashed on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, Illinois. There were multiple injuries and one death.  In the article, it was discussed that the double decker bus crashed due to a tire blowout. Tire blowouts can be devastating for commercial buses and trucks.  Transportation companies have to follow strict maintenance guidelines for busses to prevent tire blowout accidents.

We have included the Saferbus Mobile App that provides 24/7 access to important safety information and can help you answer some of the qualification questions mentioned in this blog. If you have been involved in a bus accident, you may need legal representation.  Understanding the safety rating of the motor carrier, their past safety record, maintenance records and repair records all have an impact on liability. If you have been seriously injured, you will probably need compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and maybe even other damages such as emotional distress depending on your particular situation.  Our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm, we represent victims with serious injuries from accidents and we are all too familiar with the FMCSA regulations that motor carriers must follow.

Call locally 314.276.1681 or 1.800.685.3302 for your free consultation today.