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Check the safety rating of a tour bus before interstate travel

In recent years, we've read about a number of devastating crashes involving tour buses that have left multiple people killed or injured.

Your Oklahoma church group wants to charter a bus to go to a college football game this fall. How can you determine if the bus you intend to board will be safe?

The federal government is making it easier to check on a bus line's safety record. The website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which monitors the safety of trucks and buses that cross state lines, gives passengers the chance to find out the status of a carrier.

You can search by company to get information such as the number of vehicle inspections and driver and vehicle safety statistics. Available information includes:

  • An authorization to operate. If you see "Not authorized to operate" in red in the search, that means a bus company cannot transport passengers across state lines.
  • Financial responsibility information
  • Operator safety history, which shows a company's performance in various safety categories.
  • A company safety rating

When you get behind the wheel of your own car, you know how it has been maintained as well as your own skill as a driver. When you travel on a bus, however, you cannot be certain that it is in top shape and that the driver has a stellar driving record.

If you suffer injuries or have lost a loved one in a crash that involves a tour bus or other commercial vehicle, it's essential to find out what your options are for seeking the compensation you need and deserve.

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