WHO ARE WE?
As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA), is the truck and bus "safety agency".
Our primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving
commercial motor vehicles.
WHAT DO WE DO?
The FMCSA sets minimum safety standards that motorcoach companies must follow for the buses they operate and the physical qualifications and operating rules for their drivers. The following information will provide assistance in evaluating the safety practices of interstate motorcoach companies before you charter a bus from them! While it is always an important consideration, price should not be the only deciding factor used when chartering a bus.
WHAT SHOULD I ASK?
When speaking to motorcoach companies, you should ask about the factors listed here. Companies should always be willing to answer any questions you have about their safety practices.
QUALIFICATION OF DRIVERS
Under DOT regulations, carriers are required to ensure their drivers
are fully qualified. Ask the carrier:
Will the driver hold a current Commercial Driver's License with a
Will the driver hold a valid medical certificate?
Does the company have a driver drug/alcohol testing program that
complies with DOT regulations?
LIMITATIONS ON DRIVING
There are limits on how long a driver may drive, basically not more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. If planning a long trip, ask if it can be done within Federal hours-of-service limitations.
At a minimum, buses are subject to periodic safety inspections. Verify that the buses have been inspected as required.
Carriers must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all buses subject to their control. Additionally, many States have mandated motorcoach inspection programs. You may wish to speak to your State's regulatory agency responsible for passenger carriers. You should also consider asking the carrier what procedures are in place for roadside emergencies requiring repair or replacement of their motorcoaches.
Passenger carriers occasionally use other carriers' equipment and drivers to perform their trips. Inquire as to whose bus will be used on your trip. All of the above conditions also apply to the contracted carrier. You may wish to make similar inquiries of the subcontracting company.
When a vehicle has a seating capacity of more than 15 passengers including the driver, passenger carriers are required to have a minimum of $5 million public liability insurance. Ask for proof of financial responsibility.
Ask for the carrier's USDOT identification number and its MC number.
The MC number represents interstate operating authority issued by the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Using the MC number, you may obtain insurance
information about the carrier on the Internet at
http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov. Using the U.S. DOT identification number, you may
obtain safety information about the carrier on the Internet or by calling (800) 832-5660.
If you have a regulatory question, please call (202) 366-6121.
This information is also available on the Internet at
If you have any questions, please contact the FMCSA office within your State or a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) member.
FMCSA Passenger Technical Advisory Group
|Curtis Thomas||TAG Sponsor/Eastern Field Administrator||Eastern Service Center|
|Wes Barber||Chair, Passenger Technical Advisory Group||New Jersey|
|Loretta Bitner||CPCS Division Chief||Washington, DC|
|Pete Chandler||CPCS Team Leader||Washington, DC|
|Adrian Cerros||Safety Investigator||Nevada|
|Barbara Koehler || Safety Investigator ||Wisconsin |
|Eugene Parnell || Lance Corporal, State Transport Police, South Carolina Department of Public Safety ||South Carolina |
|Gary Foster||Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspector, Nevada Highway Patrol||Nevada|
|Harry L. Thomas||Federal Program Specialist|| Colorado|
|Jimmy Perkins||Safety Investigator||Ohio|
|Joseph Powell||Safety Investigator||Maryland|
|Manuel Gaona ||Border Inspector || Texas |
You may also contact FMCSA's Commercial Passenger Carrier Safety (CPCS) Division in Washington, DC, by sending an email to: MC-ECP@dot.gov.