In light of the recent fatal bus crash in Yucaipa, long distance bus riders may be nervous about the safety of a company they use.
If you're wondering how to find safety information about commercial buses, there a few things you can do.
The Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates commercial motor coaches. It maintains an extensive database of the safety records of those that operate in the U.S. However, the website is difficult to navigate.
If you know the DOT identification number of a bus, you can look it up on the website. The number is painted on every bus, by law.
If you don't know your bus's number--or want to check a general carrier's record, there's a list on the DOT's website that contains the safety records of all commercial motor coaches operating in California.
The American Bus Association, an industry trade group, also offers the following tips for consumers.
- Ask for proof of a valid, current insurance certificate that provides a U.S. minimum of $5 million in liability insurance coverage.
- Ask for the carrier's U.S. DOT number. Carriers are required to have a U.S. DOT number clearly displayed, and should be either 5 or 6 digits long. By using that number, you can view the carrier's safety information online.
More tips are available on its website.