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How do you know if a transportation company is safe?

Imagine getting into a taxi and knowing exactly how many accidents the company has had and the number of staff members it employs. Maybe you want to know how often the vehicles are inspected or to make sure that no drivers have a spotty past.

How can you tell if your carrier is safe? Are there certain carriers that are less safe than others? One of the ways to find out is to look at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website. It keeps and maintains several different webpages designed to give you information on any transportation company. You need to know the company's name, the motor carrier number or the USDOT number to create a search. In the case of similar companies being located in different states, make sure you're looking for the right state in your searches.

Once you have input that information, you can review data about the company you were looking for as long as it is listed. If not, then the company may not be legal, and that's something to discuss with your attorney. If the company does come up, then things such as the safety performance of the company or the track record of federal or state data issued by the FMCSA about the company will be shown.

Company Snapshot is a service provided to give you a full record of information about the company's size, cargo, inspection, out-of-service summary, crash data and other important information. The service is free, and it gives you a chance to look into the background of a company before committing to riding with it.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Company Safety Records," accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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