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Tips for Chartering a Bus

Make Sure All Your Groups Trips are Safe Trips

If you’re responsible for group travel for your organization, safety is, of course, your primary concern. Knowing the Federal requirements for motorcoach safety can help lower risk for your travelers, whether you’re hiring a commercial motorcoach or operating your own commercial motor vehicle.

Specific regulations apply to commercial motor-coaches you may charter, and others apply to vehicles you may own. The checklist inside makes it easy to understand the safety guidelines for either situation.

Safety Checklist

We’re dedicated to increasing highway safety through improvements to equipment, better driver practices, and regulation enforcement. Please read the checklist inside so you will know how to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

What to know if you hire or charter a commercial motor vehicle for group travel

If your organization hires or charters commercial motor vehicles for group outings, these suggestions will help ensure your group’s safety.

  • Select a bus company and check safety performance results
  • A recent safety rating is a more timely indicator than a rating that is several years old.
  • Passenger carriers with a final “Unsatisfactory” safety rating are considered a high safety risk and are prohibited from operating.
  • Interstate drivers (generally drivers who cross State lines) are subject to qualification standards. 
  • For-hire bus companies must obtain operating authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide interstate passenger transportation.
  • If the company operates a bus that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, it must have $5 million in insurance coverage.

What to know if you own and operate your own commercial motor vehicle for group travel

If your organization owns its own vehicle and a member of your organization is the driver for group outings, you are considered an Owner/Operator by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You must, therefore, follow all Owner/Operator regulations and laws.

  • If your vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), your driver must possess a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement.
  • Your organization must have a drug and alcohol testing program for its CDL drivers.
  • Your interstate drivers (generally drivers who cross State lines) are subject to qualification standards.
  • Your drivers are subject to limitations on the number of consecutive hours they can drive at a time.
  • Your buses must be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained to be in safe and proper operating condition.