Home > FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

For HHG, Safety Violation and HazMat FAQs, please visit our Legacy FAQ site.

  1. When should I file a Passenger Carrier complaint?

    The NCCDB complaint system is intended for investigation of a past event involving a violation of a law or regulation within the jurisdiction of the FMCSA. IMPORTANT: If you are on or near a bus operating with an urgent safety condition that would likely result in an accident or injury, call 911 or local authorities immediately.

    There are three types of complaints:

    An ADA complaint is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or its implementing regulations. Some examples of an ADA complaint include a bus with a broken wheel chair lift or a driver or employee not offering the required assistance to a passenger with a disability.

    A safety complaint is related to the mechanical condition of the vehicle or the actions or physical condition of the driver during the trip, for example if the driver was driving while texting or falling asleep, or you observe bald tires or other obviously unsafe vehicle condition.

    A service complaint includes discrimination, ticket issues, and possibly lost baggage. (Note, whether baggage was checked or unchecked is relevant to the carrier's responsibilities.) Service complaints do not pose any threat to safety. Before you file a service complaint, you may refer to Title 49 in the Code of Federal Regulations part 374 to ensure the circumstances are within FMCSA's regulatory authority.

  2. What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. The ADA required the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations related to accessibility on over-the-road buses.

  3. Why do you have to report a Safety Complaint within 60 days?

    The 60-day reporting requirement was established through the rulemaking process as a standard of reasonable timeliness that would enable effective and efficient investigation and prudent utilization of the Agency's enforcement resources [49 CFR 386.12]. The 60-day requirement only applies to safety complaints, not ADA or service complaints. The regulation can be found here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=386.12&keyword=386.12.

  4. What if I have multiple types of complaints? For example,what if I have an ADA complaint and a service complaint?

    After clicking “Start” from the main page, select all the check boxes on the right-hand side of the screen that apply to your complaints. For example, if there was a violation of the ADA and you also lost your checked baggage, you would check the boxes for both “ADA” and “Bus Service.”

  1. What if I don't know the date the incident occurred?

    Please provide the date to the best of your ability and make a note of your uncertainty in the incident description.

  2. What is a Motorcoach/Over-The-Road-Bus (OTRB)?

    Motocoach
    • Approximately 40 to 85 passengers.
    • May include wheelchair lift.
    • Restroom facilities onboard.
    • Has an elevated passenger deck over a baggage compartment.
  3. What is meant by the origin and destination of the trip?

    Origin means where the trip started. For example, if you were traveling from New York, NY to Boston, MA, the origin of your trip would be New York, NY, and the destination is Boston, MA, where the trip ended.

  4. What if I don't know the city or state of origin or destination?

    Please provide as much information as you can. If you don't know the city, please provide the name of state. This information is important to verify if the trip crossed state lines, and is, therefore, under the jurisdiction of FMCSA.

  5. Do I need to know the Route/Job/Invoice #?

    No, but the information is helpful, if you can provide it.

  6. Where do I find the Route/Job/Invoice#?

    In many cases, this information is listed on the ticket.

  7. What if my complaint type isn't listed under “Select a Complaint Type”?

    The list has been compiled from the most common ADA, service and safety complaints for a passenger carrier. If the complaint violation you are reporting is not listed, please:

    • Select the most suitable complaint category from the icons provided.
    • On the next page, explain your complaint in the “Incident Description” field.
    • Select the pre-determined Complaint Detail that is the most similar to your complaint.
    • Be sure to check the box if the allegation is available. If you cannot find it, describe it in the text box. It may be helpful, although it is not required, to refer to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations at www.fmcsa.dot.gov. A safety complaint could be based upon observed violation(s) of 49 CFR, under any of the part numbers below:
      • Part 390 General FMCSA Safety Regulations
      • Part 391 Qualifications of Drivers
      • Part 392 Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV)
      • Part 393 Required Parts and Accessories
      • Part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers
      • Part 396 Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of CMV's
      • Part 397 Transportation of Hazardous Materials
  8. Do I need to have supporting documents?

    No. Supporting documents are optional,but any information you provide can help the FMCSA to address the complaint. If you have photos, documents, or videos that you wish to submit as part of your complaint, please feel free to provide them.

  9. What types of documents can I upload?

    Photos, documents, and videos can be uploaded and submitted with your complaint.

  10. Can I upload more than one document?

    Yes. In order to upload more than one document click on, “choose file,” select the file you wish to upload. Type in a description of the file and then click “add file.” Repeat these steps until you have added all of the files you want to submit with your complaint. Click “next” to continue.

  11. What if I have trouble uploading the document?

    Please call our toll free hotline for assistance at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Eastern Time.

  12. What if my document is bigger than 5MB?

    Please call our toll free hotline for assistance at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Eastern Time.

  1. Why does FMCSA need my contact information?

    The FMCSA needs your contact information so that, if necessary, we can contact you regarding the details of your complaint. “The Secretary of Transportation may disclose the identity of a complainant only if disclosure is necessary to prosecute a violation. If disclosure becomes necessary, the Secretary shall take every practical means…to ensure that the complainant is not subject to harassment, intimidation, disciplinary action, discrimination, or financial loss because of the disclosure.”[49 U.S.C. § 31143(b)]

  2. What if I don't provide my contact information? If I don't share my information with FMCSA, will my complaint still get processed?

    If you do not provide your contact information, you can still submit a complaint. If we do not have your contact information, you will not receive a letter acknowledging the receipt of your complaint, and FMCSA will be unable to followup with you regarding the status of your complaint. If FMCSA needs additional information in order to investigate your complaint and there is no way of communicating with you, your complaint may not be investigated or the effectiveness of our investigation may be hindered.

  3. If I am filling out a complaint for someone else, do you need my contact information?

    Yes, please enter your contact information as the “filer,” and the contact information for the person on whose behalf you are submitting the complaint as the “complainant.”

  4. How will FMCSA use my contact information?

    When your complaint has been processed, FMCSA will use your contact information to send you an acknowledgement letter. We will store your contact information with your complaint so that you can be contacted regarding your complaint. To view all possible uses of your information, see FMCSA's full Privacy Policy at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/Online-Privacy-Policy.aspx.

  5. What happens if I share my information with FMCSA?

    The FMCSA will use your information for the purposes described above.

  6. What is your privacy policy?

    Please click the following link to read our privacy policy in its entirety:http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/Online-Privacy-Policy.aspx.

  1. What if I don't know the name of the company?

    In the ‘Search for Company’ field, you can search for a carrier using the company name, USDOT number, or MC number. If you do not know the full name of the company, you can search by part of the name and you will get a list of companies with names that include the word. If you do not know any part of the name, the USDOT number, or the MC number, we will not be able to process a complaint against the company. Refer to the HELP FAQ's regarding carrier search for more information.

  2. What is a USDOT Number?

    The USDOT number is an identification number assigned to bus companies that transport passengers between one or more states. The number is assigned by FMCSA and serves as a way to identify the bus company during investigations, inspections, compliance reviews, and crashes. Refer to the HELP FAQ's regarding carrier search for more information.

  3. What if I don't know the USDOT Number for the company and how can I find it?

    If you do not know the USDOT number, you can also search for the carrier by name or MC number. The FMCSA requires all interstate passenger carriers to display their US DOT number on the side of the vehicle. If you are not near the vehicle, you can contact the bus company or search for the carrier on FMCSA’s web site at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/Data/Search.aspx, by entering the name of the bus company and the location where the company is headquartered.

  4. What is a MC Number?

    A MC number, sometimes referred to as a docket number, is a motor carrier identification number. A MC number indicates that the company has applied for operating authority from FMCSA. Refer to the HELP FAQ's regarding carrier search for more information.

  5. Where do I find the MC Number?

    The MC number may be marked on the vehicle but it is not required. It might also be available on paperwork you received from the company. Refer to the HELP FAQ's regarding carrier search for more information.

  6. What if the company does not pop-up after I enter the information in the search box?

    You can manually enter the company's information by clicking the “Enter Company Info” button below the search results. Refer to the HELP FAQ's regarding carrier search for more information.

  7. Why isn't the bus company I am looking for appearing when I search? Does this mean they are not allowed to operate?

    No, not necessarily. The US DOT registered bus companies should appear in your search results, regardless of whether or not they are allowed to operate. The company that provided your trip may have been using a brand name instead of, or in addition to, its official business name. Try verifying the company's official business name and redoing your search. Or, search by the carrier's US DOT or MC number instead. There are many similarly named companies; searches based on US DOT or MC number will provide the most reliable results.

    Search results include US DOT registered companies that are licensed to transport passengers from one State to, or through, another and that are subject to Federal regulatory oversight. Passenger carriers that only operate within the borders of a single State generally are NOT included.

  8. Are there other reasons why a bus company name may not appear when I search?

    If you purchased a ticket online, you may have bought a ticket from a ticketing service or ticket broker and not directly from a bus company. Ticketing service and ticket broker names will not appear in the search results. Contact the company selling the ticket, and ask for the US DOT number of the bus company that made the trip.

  9. What if I don't know the company's full address?

    Please enter only the information you know.

  1. Should I keep the Complaint ID Number for my records?

    Yes, please keep the complaint ID number on hand for future reference, and also print out a copy of your complaint and file it in a safe place.

  2. Should I print a copy of my complaint?

    Yes, print a copy of the complaint, and file it in a safe place.

  3. Who can I contact about my complaint?

    You can call our toll free hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Eastern Time.

  4. How quickly will my complaint get processed?

    A complaint is reviewed within 24 hours after it has been entered into the NCCDB. A complaint filed on a Holiday or Friday would not be reviewed until the next business day.

  5. What happens after I submit my complaint?

    A safety complaint is examined for the requirements described under 49 CFR section 386.12. It is forwarded to the appropriate FMCSA Division Office for review. The FMCSA investigates all complaints alleging any substantial violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations, or Hazardous Materials Regulations, which are timely, non-frivolous, and jurisdictional. The complaint information is entered into the carrier's record and the appropriate action is taken.

    An ADA complaint is provided to FMCSA Headquarters staff for review and appropriate action. The specific circumstances will determine whether intervention may be conducted by FMCSA or the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

    A service complaint is provided to the FMCSA Division Office for review. The complaint information is entered into the carrier’s record and the appropriate intervention is conducted.

  6. How will FMCSA follow-up with me?

    If FMCSA conducts an investigation, we will provide you with timely notice of the findings. Because circumstances vary, there is no specific timeline for our follow-up with you that is applicable for all complaints.

  7. What happens if I lose the complaint ID number?

    Complainants can use the toll free hotline at 1 888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Eastern Time. You will be asked for your name and address, and the complaint ID number will be provided to you.

  8. What happens if I lose the copy of my complaint?

    A complainant requesting a copy of his or her complaint is asked to contact FMCSA's Freedom of Information Act Office (FOIA). The FMCSA FOIA Hotline number is (202) 366-2960, but you can also send an email to FOIA2@dot.gov. To learn more about FOIA requests, please visit our Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/foia/foia.htm.

  9. What if I choose to sue or press charges against the motor carrier?

    The FMCSA does not have the authority to intercede on behalf of passengers in civil actions seeking monetary damages. If you choose to take legal action, information about the passenger carrier's agent for process service is available on our Web site at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov. A process agent is a representative upon whom court papers may be served in a legal action against a passenger carrier.

    Regarding ADA complaints under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has responsibility for litigation on the Government's behalf in enforcing the ADA or section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This may be based upon either a referral of a finding of willful noncompliance by DOT, or by intervention in a privately filed lawsuit. [42 U.S.C. § 12133, 29 U.S.C. § 794a].

    You may also file a complaint (lawsuit) in State or Federal court. While there are no deadlines for filing an ADA Title III complaint with either DOT or DOJ, there are deadlines for filing complaints in court. These deadlines differ in each State so be sure to contact the appropriate Clerk of Courts office to answer questions related to their filing requirements.

  10. Do I still need to file a complaint if I pursue a civil action?

    Your decision to file a complaint with FMCSA using the NCCDB does not affect your right to pursue a civil action. One action has no effect upon the other. However, it is helpful for FMCSA to be aware of whether you have filed or plan to file a civil court action, and whether you have filed or plan to file a complaint with another Federal Agency regarding the incident.