This executive report summarizes the information found in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Report on Curbside Motorcoach Safety. In that report, motorcoach transportation safety was examined comprehensively with an emphasis on curbside motorcoach operations. The full report also addresses the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) oversight of all sectors of the motorcoach industry so that comparisons with curbside operations can be made.
This executive report focuses primarily on those issues that pertain only to curbside operations. In addition, this report presents the list of conclusions from the full report. Readers are encouraged to refer to the full NTSB report for a complete view of interstate motorcoach operations, including those providing curbside service.
The analyses conducted during this investigation accurately depict the results from the comparisons of the various motorcoach carriers defined in this report based on the data available from the FMCSA. This investigation could not account for uncertainty associated with the identification of curbside carriers or for missing or inaccurate data from FMCSA data sources. Applying these results to different groups of motorcoach carriers would require additional categorization of the motorcoach carrier groups and new analyses.
Of the 4,172 active interstate motorcoach carriers operating in the United States, 71 were identified as scheduled motorcoach carriers providing curbside service. Although accidents among all types of interstate motorcoach carriers (including those applying the curbside business model) are infrequent, curbside carriers have higher fatal accident and death rates and higher out-of-service (OOS) rates resulting from driver violations (specifically, fatigued driving and driver fitness violations) compared with scheduled conventional carriers. Curbside carriers also have higher driver fitness violation and OOS rates, and these carriers are overrepresented in driver logbook violations. The safety record of individual curbside carriers varies, with some carriers having very good safety records and others having worse safety records.
In addition, the oversight of this segment of the industry has several challenges. FMCSA and state investigators are overburdened by the number of inspections and compliance reviews that need to be accomplished to properly assess a motor carrier’s safety performance due to the large number of motor carriers that the investigators have to oversee in addition to motorcoach carriers. The prohibition of routine en route inspections, the minimal requirements for obtaining new operating authority, the inconsistent enforcement of the requirement to submit mileage and other essential information to the FMCSA, and language barriers all indicate that oversight of curbside carriers is more challenging than that for other segments of the motorcoach industry.