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How can one verify their bus company is safe?

It can be a lot of fun for a group of friends or a local club to hire a bus company to take them on a special day trip. Everyone gets to relax and not worry about getting to their destination. After all, a professional bus company has been hired to take care of that. But, how do Connecticut residents know if the bus company they hired has a clean safety record and not been involved in any fatal accidents?

It is extremely important for any group or individual to check on the safety record of any bus company that they are considering. One way to do this is to check out the bus company's safety performance scores and compare them to the national average scores for all other bus companies.

Interested individuals should ask the prospective bus company for their 'DOT' number. Then, using that number they can check out the company's safety record at the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.

All bus companies are rated by the FMCSA. A primary aspect of this rating is the company's safety record. The FMCSA's highest rating for any bus company is "satisfactory."

While reviewing the safety rating for the company, it is critical to examine the most recent year for the company's rating. A recent satisfactory rating is a stronger indication of the firm's commitment to safety.

Hiring a company that has a "conditional" safety rating may be riskier than using one that has a satisfactory rating. The agency's lowest rating is "final unsatisfactory safety" and any company that has received this rating should not be operating.

The FMCSA also requires that any bus company that transports 16 or more people must have a minimum of $5 million dollars in insurance coverage. However, any Connecticut resident who has been injured in an accident while riding on a bus may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to find out if they should pursue compensation from the bus company for their injuries.

Source: Ct.gov, "Bus Safety," accessed on April 17, 2016

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