SALEM, Ohio — If you are reading this publication, chances are great you have chartered or will charter a motorcoach for a group or a friends and family trip. Research shows the average reader charters six motorcoaches a year that carry over 250 passengers on group excursions.
That’s a lot of people on tour each year, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a major reason you enjoy a safe travel experience. FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for overseeing the safe operation of every motorcoach in the United States. It serves us so well that safe motorcoach travel is taken for granted. FMCSA works behind the scenes to ensure safe travel, with few of us ever knowing the impact it has or even that it exists.
Although your traveler may be unaware of the value FMCSA provides, you, as the trip organizer that charters the motorcoach, need to know about the tools FMCSA provides to ensure your choice of a motorcoach operator is safe one.
“Look Before You Book: Put Bus Safety First” is a campaign promoted by FMCSA to assist in the safe chartering of motorcoaches. FMCSA has partnered with this publication and The Group Travel Family of Brands in an awareness program that reaches 25,000 group travel planners that charter motorcoaches.
FMCSA urges all travel planners to “Look Before You Book” when planning bus travel and booking a bus company. Using the Bus Safety Search tool on the FMCSA website, travel planners can look up a bus company to view its safety history and any infractions or concerns to be aware of when making a bus company selection. Most bus companies are reputable and focused on passenger safety. Unfortunately, there are some companies that don’t follow safety requirements and put passengers at risk. Before booking a trip, travel planners should take a few moments to research bus company safety online with FMCSA’s Bus Safety Search.
The Look Before You Book App makes it easy to check out your next charter and includes five great features: searching for a bus company, checking to see whether the company is authorized to operate, reviewing the company’s safety records, ensuring the company is licensed and insured, and, if appropriate, reporting a company.
Travel planners will get firsthand training by FMCSA at the Select Traveler Conference, the African American Travel Conference, the Going On Faith Conference, Boomers In Groups and the Small Market Meetings Conference throughout 2022. You may also visit fmcsa.dot.gov and click to “Travel Planners.”