The Safe Transportation of
Passengers by Motorcoach
& What It Means To You
the Federal Office of Motor Carriers
Who are we? As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, Office of Motor Carriers, is the truck and bus "safety agency." Our vision is to create a CRASH-FREE environment including the safe and efficient transportation of passengers by motorcoach.
What do we do? The Office of Motor Carriers sets minimum safety standards that motorcoach companies must follow for the buses they operate and the physical qualifications and operating rules for their drivers. The following information will provide assistance in evaluating the safety practices of interstate motorcoach companies before you charter a bus from them! While it is always an important consideration, price should not be the only deciding factor used when chartering a bus.
What should I ask? When speaking to motorcoach companies, you should ask about the factors listed here. Companies should always be willing to answer any questions you have about their safety practices.
Qualifications of Drivers Under DOT regulations, carriers are required to ensure their drivers are fully qualified. As the carrier:
Will the driver hold a current Commercial Driver's License with a "passenger" endorsement?
Will the driver hold a valid medical certificate?
Does the company have a driver drug/alcohol testing program that complies with DOT regulations?
Limitations on Driving There are limits on how long a driver may drive, basically not more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. If planning a long trip, ask if it can be done within Federal hours-of-service limitations.
Vehicle Standards At a minimum, buses are subject to periodic safety inspections. Verify that the buses have been inspected as required. Carriers must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all buses subject to their control. Additionally, many States have mandated motorcoach inspection programs. You may wish to speak to your State's regulatory agency responsible for passenger carriers. You should also consider asking the carrier what procedures are in place for roadside emergencies requiring repair or replacement of their motorcoaches.
Carriers occasionally use other motor carrier's equipment and drivers to perform
their trips. Inquire as to whose bus will be used on your trip. All
of the above conditions also apply to the contracted carrier. You may wish
to make similar inquiries of the subcontracting company.
Insurance When a vehicle has seating capacity of more than 15 passengers including the driver, passenger carriers are required to have a minimum of $5 million public liability insurance. Ask for proof of financial responsibility.
Operating Authority Ask for your carrier's U.S. DOT identification number and its MC number. The MC number represents interstate operating authority issued by the Federal Highway Administration. Using the MC number, you may obtain insurance information about the carrier by calling (202) 358-7000. Using the U.S. DOT identification number, you may obtain safety information about the carrier by calling (703) 280-4001.
This information is also available on the Internet at
QUESTIONS??? If you have any questions, please contact the FHWA Office of Motor Carriers office within your State.