With the Easter holiday nearly here, people are starting to look for affordable last minute travel options. While this might take flying out of the equation, it could still mean taking a train, driving or riding the bus.
Those who elect to travel via one of the more than 4,000 registered bus carriers here in the U.S., however, will always want to make safety a primary consideration and perhaps think twice about purchasing a ticket from a company with a dubious safety record just because it's cheaper.
As we started discussing in an earlier post, there are three steps that prospective bus passengers can take to help ensure that they'll arrive at their destination safely. Today, we'll look at the second step recommended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: making sure the driver is safe.
In general, federal regulations dictate that anyone operating a passenger vehicle capable of carrying 16-plus people (including the driver) must be in possession of a valid Commercial Driver's License with a passenger endorsement. Furthermore, these regulations also dictate that any licensed bus driver must also be in possession of a valid certificate from a medical examiner indicating that they meet the physical qualification requirements for the position.
As a passenger, you should be able to secure this information from the bus company that you have chosen for your travels, along with some of the other vital information:
- Whether the bus driver for your trip has a safe driving record.
- Whether the bus company has internal policies prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving (talking, texting, etc.,) outside of applicable state and federal regulations.
- Whether the bus company makes its drivers participate in a drug and alcohol testing program.
While you might be tempted to dismiss some of this as overkill, consider the devastation that can occur in high-speed bus accidents, and how driver negligence is often determined by the FMCSA to be the cause of the accident.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Top 3 things to know when planning your next bus trip," Nov. 26, 2014