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Understand Your Bus Safety Search Results

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. 
  • Safety Performance Data in each of five safety categories called “BASICs.”
  • Company Safety Rating. Unless a company received an Unsatisfactory safety rating under 49 CFR Part 385, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by FMCSA, it is authorized to operate on the nation's roadways.


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 as compared to carriers with similar operations and number of safety events. BASIC percentiles do not affect a carrier’s safety rating.  

This symbol is present when a carrier is at or above the threshold in a BASIC or has one or more Acute/Critical Violations in a BASIC. This symbol indicates that FMCSA may prioritize the motor carrier for further monitoring. This symbol is not intended to imply any federal safety rating of the carrier. 


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

FMCSA issues a safety rating to a carrier following a compliance review to indicate compliance with the safety fitness standard (49 CFR 385.5) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. 

  • Satisfactory is the highest rating, indicating that safety controls are sufficient to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard.
  • Conditional means that safety controls are inadequate but the company may continue to operate.
  • Unsatisfactory means that safety controls are inadequate and have resulted in violations of the safety fitness standard. A bus company with a final Unsatisfactory rating is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce 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.

Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019
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