A guide to hiring charter transportation

Schools often provide transportation for students, be it for a field trip, a recreational outing, an athletic event, or some other activity. Schools can reduce the risk to students through careful selection of the transportation company. The following are important considerations in the selection of a transportation company:

How safe is the bus company?

To hire a safe bus company, you need to have information. It is important to know if the drivers are qualified and drug- and alcohol-free. You also need to know if the buses have been properly maintained and are in good operating condition. Ask questions about safety. And make sure any company you choose is willing to answer the questions:

  • Do drivers have a current commercial driver's license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement?
  • Does the company require that its drivers take physical examinations?
  • Does the company have a drug- and alcohol-testing program for drivers?
  • Does the company consider driver fatigue in assigning work schedules?
  • Will the driver be able to complete the planned trip within the legal limit of driving hours? If not, will a second driver or overnight rest stop be necessary to perform the trip legally?
  • Are the buses inspected annually? By whom?
  • Does the bus company have the required public liability insurance?
  • What procedures exist for roadside emergencies and breakdowns?
  • What's the company's accident history?
  • Does the bus company subcontract for equipment and/or drivers? If so, they should provide you with the name of the second bus company, so you can check its background as well.

Not all bus companies are equally safe.

Whether you are relying on an existing vendor or choosing a new transportation company, it is a good idea to make sure their safety record is satisfactory and to verify their insurance information. The U.S. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps detailed records on every interstate passenger carrier. To view this information, visit this website and enter your zip code or state and the system will provide you with a list of passenger carriers in your area, or enter a state and a specific passenger carrier's name.

The website provides details on the passenger carrier, including information from the Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS), which measures a company's compliance with FMCSA regulations. Information also includes whether the company has authority to transport passengers in interstate commerce and the company's safety rating and insurance status. A check with state agencies should be done for intrastate operators.

If you experience an unsafe interstate trip in which students are injured or, you believe, endangered by the actions of the transportation company, contact the FMCSA toll free hotline: 888-DOT-SAFT (or 888-368-7238) from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday or through the online National Consumer Complaint Database. Your state may provide a similar resource for intrastate trips.

Copyright ©2018 ISO Services Properties, Inc.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you. The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC FEB 2019 LC 14-21
171-0858 (12/18)