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Bus Safety Research Tips

Two Ways to Search for Safety

You can search FMCSA data using a company’s name or USDOT number. Many bus companies have similar names, so ask the company for its USDOT number.

If you’d like to search for a bus or other transportation company (like a van service or limousine company) in your area, use the “Search by Vehicle Type” option.

Understanding Your Search Results

Review several types of information.

  • Authorization to Operate. All commercial bus operators that carry passengers on trips that go outside of a state must have a USDOT number and be authorized by FMCSA to operate. 
  • If you see a red “Not authorized to operate” notice in your search results, the bus operator is not allowed to take passengers to another state.
  • Required Financial Responsibility provides insurance for passengers in the event of a crash. 
  • Operator Safety History indicates how well a bus company has performed in specific safety categories. This includes:
    • Safety performance in each of five safety categories called “BASIC.”
    • A company safety rating.

BASIC Safety Performance

BASIC stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. 

FMCSA uses a percentile from 0 (best) to 100 (worst), calculated for companies that have enough data related to each category. A lower percentile indicates a higher rate of compliance for that safety category.  

This symbol indicates that the company’s performance in a specific BASIC category needs improvement, based on roadside inspection data and/or one or more serious violations within the past 12 months. 

BASIC Categories

Unsafe Driving: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, inattention, no seatbelts.

Hours-of-Service Compliance: Noncompliance with HOS regulations, including logbooks.

Vehicle Maintenance: Brakes, lights, defects, failure to make required repairs

Controlled Substances and/or Alcohol: Use/possession
of controlled substances/alcohol.

Driver Fitness: Invalid license, medically unfit to operate a CMV.

Company Safety Rating

The safety rating is FMCSA's assessment of the company's safety performance:

  • Satisfactory is the highest rating, indicating a company complies with federal safety regulations.
  • Conditional means a bus company has some violations, but may still operate. Review the company’s BASIC information to learn more.
  • Unsatisfactory ratings generally indicate bus companies that not allowed to operate, and should be reported to FMCSA if they are operating.
  • Bus companies that do not have safety ratings have not had their operations evaluated by FMCSA.

Report Companies that Shouldn’t be Operating

If a bus company you’re considering has an “Unsatisfactory” safety rating, has been placed out of service, or doesn’t have operating authority, it should not be operating in interstate commerce.

Last updated: Thursday, October 25, 2018