Recent high profile bus accidents in New York, Virginia and other locales have brought attention to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's ability to protect passenger safety initiatives. One key aspect of federal regulation is the FMCSA's lists of approved motorcoach, mini-bus, school bus, passenger van and limousine service companies.
The FMCSA cautions consumers that cost should not be the primary concern when choosing transportation services, and that they must inform themselves about companies that fail to meet federal safety standards. The agency provides a regularly updated list of approved interstate carriers in all states, and encourages a thorough review of whether an interstate passenger carrier is properly licensed and maintains sufficient insurance.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently shared details regarding various initiatives to shut down unsafe bus companies. Examples of unsafe practices include using luggage compartments to carry passengers and provide a place for drivers to sleep.
Motorcoach companies with a history of accidents or violations are a danger to passengers and other motorists alike. Here are a few resources that passengers can review on the FMCSA website to increase the likelihood of a safe bus trip:
- Check a company's safety performance history and compare its scores to national averages
- Identify companies with conditional safety ratings or unsatisfactory ratings, which indicate higher risks
- Verify operating authority and compliance with interstate carrier insurance requirements ($5 million in coverage to carry 16 or more passengers)
When a company's negligence or recklessness leads to serious injuries or a fatal bus accident, a personal injury attorney can provide ready answers about a potential client's legal options.