Charter Bus Safety for School Field Trips

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Charter Bus Safety for School Field Trips

by The Coach Team

Every year hundreds of thousands of kids go on school field trips. Most of these school field trips are of the one day variety to local attractions and amusement parks. Some are over a weekend or up to 6 days in length and require a good deal of planning, costing a considerable amount of money.  If your children are going to be away without you it’s not bad idea to look into their travel safety. You can check out the places they are going and the bus company that is carrying them and their friends to their destination.

The following are a few tips for investigating your children’s travel safety.

Looking into Bus SafetyTour bus driving through the fall foliage.

The first place to look into travel safety is to start with the company that is transporting your child on their school field trip. All bus companies in the US are kept track of by one of two agencies. If your trip is staying in your state, your State department of Transportation has control over the bus company. Most state agencies don’t have information available on a web site so you’ll have to call and ask questions. Call your local school district transportation department and ask if they have the “out of service percentage” for the company that they are using for the trip. This percentage indicates if a bus has been put off the road for a mechanical defect and what that defect was. You need to keep in mind that you are looking at raw data and that a bus that is put out of service for a blown out tail light is different than a bus that has defective tires and an exhaust leak.

School Field Trips Across State Lines

If the trip is going across state lines then the bus company is regulated by the Federal Authorities and for this, you need to go to a different place to find out the data you’re looking for. This site is called and once you get there you need to scroll down to the middle bottom of the page and locate Company Snapshot. Put in the appropriate information: either the DOT (mc) NUMBER, COMPANY NAME, or the ICC number (make sure you check the item you are using to search). Once the site comes up you can click around and check out the company accident rate, inspection pass/fail numbers, and their insurance.

Travel Safety and School Field Trip Locations

When you are satisfied with the bus company, it’s time to check out other parts of the trip. If the group is going to an amusement park you might want to contact the appropriate state fire marshal’s office and make sure that they have a passing grade on their safety inspection. If your kids are staying at a hotel somewhere, it doesn’t hurt to call the local fire department and see if their certificates and inspections are up to date. If you are interested in the crime rate at the hotel that the group is staying at, call the local police department and ask for the community relations office and see if they can tell you a little about the neighborhood that the hotel is in. It also doesn’t hurt to inquire of the school principal if the group has arranged for security on the individual floors at the hotel.

Want to know about what they will be eating on their school field trip? Call the city health department and ask about the rating of the restaurants. Most important, ask your school officials what’s in place should a child get separated from the group. Is there a phone number that they all know and that will be answered 24 hours a day if the child gets lost?

Last of all, don’t let this blog worry you, 99.9 % of all school trips go off without a hitch !

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