Bus crashes beg question: How safe are they?

WASHINGTON — Travel season means tour buses crisscrossing the country. They’re already parked on the Mall bringing tourists to see Washington’s world-famous cherry blossoms. But after a number of high-profile bus crashes, more and more riders have asked: How safe are they?

There’s a quick and easy way to check the safety record of bus companies, says Anne Ferro, administrator with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It’s called the Safer Bus app, and it’s free.

“It’s a quick and easy look-up for the authority of that company that you may be choosing to book,” says Ferro.

The app has been around for a couple of years, but Ferro uses the start of the spring and summer travel season to remind riders they should check the records of any bus company they may travel with.

Ferro also announced that Union Station would now be used as a site for on-the-spot bus inspections. The FMCSA and the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department are teaming up to carry out the inspections, which include checking the vehicle and the driver’s information.

“We want to be sure the driver is rested and obeying the law,” Ferro says.

Ferro encourages potential riders to use the Safer Bus app and says her administration is working hard to ferret out fly-by-night companies.

“We shut down 100 motor coach companies in the last year,” she says. “The key for us is to make it more difficult than ever before to operate unsafe equipment.”

Here’s a link for information on the Safer Bus app.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

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