From an operations position, safety is always at the forefront of every transportation company’s concerns. Recently, the federal agency charged with ensuring safety on the nation’s roadways, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), developed SaferBus. The first of its kind, SaferBus is a multilingual app that allows commercial bus passengers an unprecedented ability to access the FMCSA’s information on their bus company’s safety history, file complaints with the FMCSA, and more. All of this information is now readily available from a user’s mobile phone.
This app will likely present some unique results that could potentially affect commercial carriers. First and foremost, the app will make the carrier’s safety information easily available to the general public. Second, and most importantly, the app will allow users to file safety complaints with the push of a button (literally). From a safety and liability standpoint, commercial bus companies now need to be aware of the potential for a multitude of easily submitted and, subsequently, easily obtained complaints regarding safety. Often in litigation, carriers are faced with a request for information concerning prior accidents and/or complaints. Counsel and their clients should be mindful of this new product and the information it records.
While it is currently unclear how these potential complaints will be stored and/or processed from the app, the overall potential for additional avenues of discovery is readily apparent. Commercial carriers should work with counsel to determine the best strategies to manage this information and be prepared to access it should litigation arise.
By Josh Davis