Limousines and buses are a popular way to travel to the hundreds of wineries, distilleries, cideries and breweries in Long Island. All long Island limousine rental service providers follow certain best practices as well as federal regulations. However, it is best to know what you must ask before embarking on your Long Island wine tour. Here is some research to do before booking.
Check federal records
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a searchable Safety and Fitness Electronic Records system, which can be accessed at safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. Among the information, there is the company’s operating status; a number of vehicles and drivers; and inspection record. It also includes crashes reported to FMCSA in the past 24 months. It also offers safety tips, rights of people with disabilities and a place to report an issue.
Ask about driver credentials
New York state has separate requirements for the drivers and for the vehicles used by tour operations.
The legislation pertaining to drivers, called 19A certification, means that the companies that employ the drivers verify their employees have completed medical exams; pre-employment checks, including criminal history; and biennial road and theory tests. It is suggested that you call operators and ask specifically about whether drivers are 19A certified. If the person booking the tour doesn’t know the meaning of the term, it could be cause for concern.
Ask about DOT inspections
Vehicles that can carry more than nine paid passengers must be certified by the Department of Transportation; they get a rigorous inspection every six months, with an informal inspection between those inspections.
Vehicles of this size can be purchased by anyone, and uninformed operators can launch a tour operation without knowing the driver and vehicle regulations. Again, it’s a good idea to ask whether the vehicles are DOT-inspected and to check the federal records as well.
Check references, reviews
If you have one or more destinations on your wish list, you may wish to check with that destination to make sure that tour is welcome there. Wineries, for example, often will maintain a list of tour operators that are welcome. Those usually have mostly to do with showing up punctually and bringing groups that are well-behaved. Other possible references are wedding planners and tourism agencies.
Online consumer reviews are another way to check whether companies have issues. Check the operators’ Facebook pages, Google reviews, Yelp, and other review sites.
Use your eyes and ears
Before you head out, have a conversation with the driver to discern whether he or she is alert and coherent. Also take a look at the vehicle for issues, such as cracked windows or worn floorboards.
During the trip, call 911 if you believe that you may be in danger. An example would be a bus driver who appears to be impaired or is driving erratically without complying with requests to stop.
To have a safe and happy ride, reach out to Gold Star Limousine. All their limousines and drivers are compliant to the norm and trained to ensure your safety.