As a travel planner, it’s just as important to research bus company safety as it is to check the quality of accommodations or activities for your travelers.
Research Bus Company Safety
Interstate bus companies must have a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA’s online database lets you verify that a bus company is authorized to operate and review its safety history.
Ask about the drivers for your trip.
Talk with the bus company about their drivers.
- Ask if drivers have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement, which requires additional knowledge and road testing.
- Ask if their drivers have valid medical examiner’s certificates, showing they are medically qualified to operate a bus.
- Ask about drivers’ average number of years of driving experience, and how often the company checks their driving records.
- Ask the operator how it enforces laws against texting or using cell phones while driving and whether it has a driver drug-and alcohol-testing program.
Don’t Ask Drivers to Operate Unsafely
Especially for longer bus trips, build in extra time for potential detours, work zones, traffic, or bad road conditions.
- Never ask a driver to speed or make up lost time.
- Don’t request extra stops or side trips that could make the trip exceed the legal driving limit of 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- For a longer bus trip, your group may require more than one bus driver.
Give Tour Leaders and Passengers Safety Information
Encourage your passengers to always wear seat belts while aboard, if they are available.
The bus operator should provide a passenger safety orientation before departure. FMCSA provides audiotapes and transcripts in several languages for review and use.
FMCSA also has safety resources to share with your travelers and colleagues.