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How to help stay safe while on your next bus trip

Many Americans like traveling by bus, getting the opportunity to see the country up close. However, not all bus companies are equally safe.

Consumers who want to plan a bus trip can be proactive about their own safety by doing some basic research prior to booking their trips. Keep in mind that the cheapest option does not always mean it's the wisest choice. Below are some tips that may make your trip a bit safer.

-- If it is a chartered bus, ask about the driver's qualifications. Is his or her commercial driver's license up-to-date and valid with passenger endorsement status? What about a medical examiner's certificate?

-- Verify the bus company's safety record by downloading the SaferBus app for mobile phones.

-- Beware of bolded, red alerts signifying a company isn't authorized to operate. Yellow means some violations were cited in the past, so proceed with caution.

If you suspect that your driver is operating the bus while impaired or drowsy, or if you observe other safety violations occurring, use your cellphone to dial 911 and make a report. Doing so could save not only your life but the lives of your fellow passengers and all who share the roads with you.

If you wind up injured in an accident while a passenger on a bus, whether it is a chartered bus or a commercial line, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain, suffering and other damages from the driver(s) who were at fault in the accident. A Chicago personal injury attorney can give you more information.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Planning a Bus Trip? Put Safety First!," accessed Feb. 10, 2017

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