HOT TOPICS Presented in collaboration with the ABA Bus Industry Safety Council

Amp Up Your Motorcoach Safety & Compliance Program with the Bus Industry Safety Council!

The Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) is an organization sponsored by the American Bus Association (ABA) and several partners committed to motorcoach safety. The safety of our passengers, drivers and buses is the number one priority for our industry. And fortunately, we have a solid safety record to stand by when compared to other segments of the transportation world. That record is due to the efforts of our compliance, safety, and operational leaders at bus companies across North America.

However, these safety experts need a forum and venue to meet, bounce ideas and best practices off of each other and continue to enhance their safety and compliance knowledge. To better organize and bring together these industry leaders, more than 20 years ago, ABA created the BISC. 

The BISC serves as an industry-wide bus safety educational outreach and advisory group. The organization brings top safety professionals together in the North American motorcoach industry with a mission to promote methods, materials, and procedures to enhance passenger transportation safety and security. In doing so, BISC connects all facets of the industry, government agencies, equipment manufacturers, consultants, vendors, motorcoach operators, tour planners, school bus operators and many more.

The BISC provides an unprecedented level of safety information, networking for safety professionals and collaborative review across the entire bus industry. Members of the Council participate in the development of training programs and templates; providing recommendations or subject matter experts to industry associations, regulators, lawmakers and organizations; the refinement of industry definitions and guidelines on best safety practices; the publication and dissemination of safety bulletins and alerts; and the support of safety educational forums and certification programs. 

The BISC is currently made up of more than 400 members of the bus safety community. BISC not only follows and provides updates on the current state of bus safety, but it is also the leading voice and forum for the discussion of future bus safety initiatives.

Membership in the BISC is open to anyone in the passenger transportation industry who is interested in providing, improving, educating on topics related to transportation safety. All someone has to do is attend a meeting or event to get involved.

The BISC typically holds three in-person meetings per year and aims to be accessible to interested individuals no matter where they are based. The first meeting of the year is held during ABA’s Marketplace, which occurs annually around the country. The second meeting is held in June in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region. The third meeting is held in conjunction with the California Bus Association’s Annual Convention and is called BISC West. The BISC also holds quarterly open conference calls and webinars and supports other state and regional meetings as requested. 

Together We are Stronger

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of the ramp up of a return to normal operations, the BISC has created a new resource to help those who may have been displaced or have taken on new roles in charge of safety or compliance. The BISC has formed a mentor program to help companies return to success with the resources they currently have available. We have assembled a cadre of dozens of mentors with decades of industry experience. These mentors run the gamut of experience as experts in wide range of topics, including regulatory compliance, safety and driver training, OSHA regulations, vehicle maintenance, security, Human Resources as well as the day-to-day operations of a bus company. Although business may not yet be at the levels we are hoping for, the safety and security of our passengers will always be paramount for our industry. Staying ready for compliance reviews, OSHA audits, ADA requests for service, and the daily monitoring of our drivers and buses must continue.

Our industry professionals who serve as mentors are volunteering their time and experience to help any company that is in need of education, guidance, coaching or just to talk and reaffirm your teams that we are all in this together. BISC and its sister council the Bus Maintenance and Repair Council, (BusMARC), have provided a continuing educational series of topics throughout this past summer, fall and winter and will continue to support the industry. The mentor program is an extension of this education to provide a personalized look at the issues and concerns you face in your own operations but is accessible on a day-to-day basis. Join us at our next meeting, and even if you don’t yet have a need for a mentor, pick their brains during our Mentor Office Hours.

Recognizing Excellence

Safety is the hallmark of our industry. It is nice to take the opportunity to recognize and reward exemplary safety efforts. Each year, we present a couple of very special awards. The awards are presented formally at the annual ABA Marketplace event, the largest gathering of motorcoach operators in North America.

Motorcoach Driver of the Year Award

The Motorcoach Driver of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond the performance of his or her duties as an Over-The-Road Motorcoach Driver, professionally executing safe motorcoach operation, while providing the traveling public with the safest form of passenger transportation in the United States.

Norm Littler Memorial Safety Award

The Norm Littler Memorial Safety Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the profession of safety. The award is named after the ABA’s former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Norm Littler, who was one of the industry’s leading experts when it came to safety. Norm passed away in 2013 and this award embodies his legacy and dedication to continuing to improve safety in the motorcoach industry.

Knowledge is Power

The BISC is very lucky to have frequent attendance and participation from our partners at the federal agencies that regulate us. Not only do these representatives provide timely updates and explain upcoming compliance items, but they also get a chance to truly engage with the industry and learn from us. They get to see the real-world impacts of the policies that they propose and gain feedback. We frequently see presentations from the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Administration (CISA), plus commercial vehicle inspectors, representatives from Federal Advisory Committees and many more.

Dealing with ELDs, Review of Motorcoach Driver Training Requirements, Limiting Engine-Related Pollution Control Breakdowns, and an Update from FMCSA were just a handful of the sessions offered at a recent BISC meeting or webinar series. Did you miss it? All meeting presentations and all webinar sessions are recorded and posted to the BISC Event page, which serves as an archive of recent meeting presentations.

Though a meeting may have concluded, the work has not. BISC and its members labor year-round to ensure the safety of the motorcoach industry and the people who travel on its buses and access to what we recently discussed is just a click away.