As the peak spring travel season begins and consumers look to commercial buses to reach popular destinations, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled its SaferBus iPhone/iPad application – a first-of-its-kind app that gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company’s safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel.
“This new app gives Americans the information they need to make smart safety decisions when they book their next bus trip,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “As college students, families and tour groups start thinking about spring and summer travel, we encourage everyone to use the SaferBus app to look before you book your next bus trip.”
The SaferBus app, designed for the Apple iPhone and iPad, can be downloaded for free by visiting the Apple iTunes App Store or going to FMCSA’s “Look Before You Book” webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus. A screenshot of the app is also available at this site.
SaferBus provides access to safety records on nearly 6,000 interstate commercial passenger carriers operating in the United States today, which includes privately operated motorcoach, school bus and tour bus companies. Information like this is especially important as more Americans turn to motorcoaches to meet their transportation needs. According to the American Bus Association’s latest research, more than 700 million people traveled by motorcoach in 2009.
“SaferBus is FMCSA’s first step at making our thorough safety data on commercial bus companies available through smartphone technology,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “By placing a bus company’s safety record in the palm of your hand, SaferBus encourages riders to think safety first, supports our agency’s commitment to make bus travel as safe as possible, and provides good bus companies a way to highlight their positive safety records.”
A SaferBus app search will provide:
- Bus Company Safety Record: The app gives access to up to 24 months of a bus company’s safety performance record. This data provides insight into a bus company’s performance in five safety-critical areas: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, and vehicle maintenance. Percentiles in any area can range between 0 (best) and 100 (worst), and are based on the company’s compliance with federal safety standards. This information is also available online at FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) website at: http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/Data/Search.aspx.
- Bus Company Operating Authority: In addition to providing a bus company’s safety record, the app will also notify users if that company is an illegal bus company that has been shut down by FMCSA with this language: “NOT ALLOWED TO OPERATE.” Bus riders should NOT use interstate bus companies that do not have valid USDOT operating authority.
- Report a Bus Safety Complaint: SaferBus links to FMCSA’s National Consumer Compliant Database, enabling users to instantly submit any bus safety-related concern. The public may also call FMCSA’s safety hotline number, 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), and should always call 911 in case of a safety emergency.
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