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Be careful when hiring a charter bus company

There are a wide array of vehicles on Kansas City, Missouri, roads. Correspondingly, there are occasionally commercial vehicle accidents. Those accidents include charter buses, so anyone choosing to use a charter bus company for the transportation of their group should do so carefully.

Charter bus companies are often hired by schools, but many of those charter bus companies have a less than satisfactory rating. Ratings are assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Of course, that is cause for concern. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to protect the lives of those in your group when looking for a charter bus company to transport them.

First, ask the company for their official identification number as issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). That identification number tells you that USDOT is aware of the company and that the company complies with the insurance requirements of USDOT. The identification number also tells you that the company is subject to inspection and formal review by state and federal authorities at any point those authorities deem necessary.

You will also want to check the company's safety record. Start by going to www.safersys.org and looking at their snapshot of the company, which includes the company's safety rating. It might be unsatisfactory, conditional or satisfactory. Choose a satisfactory one.

The snapshot will also let you verify that the charter bus company carries the minimum required amount of insurance, and that they are authorized to transport passengers on a for hire basis. You'll also be able to review the company's accident record and regulatory violations. With that information, you can compare the company's safety record to national averages.

Finally, talk with the driver, both when you first hire the company and right before he or she is to drive you and your group. Make sure that they are healthy, rested and responsible. If you have any doubts, don't go with them.

Source: Indian Trails, "Charter Bus Safety: Five Things You Must Know," Chad Cushman, accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.