LANSING, MI - This year, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is issuing newly designed annual safety inspection decals for commercial buses and limousines. \r\nThe new decals offer a consistent design with important information printed on them, including the safety inspection expiration date, company name, vehicle identification number, vehicle fleet number, and the MDOT decal number. Like license plate registration tabs, the color of the decals will change every year.\r\nPreviously for limos, MDOT issued an annual "registered limousine" decal that would expire March 1. Now, a decal will be issued after the limo passes its annual safety inspection and will be valid for one year. This change will help limo carriers see which of their vehicles needs a safety inspection and avoid late fees. Limousine safety inspections are conducted at state-licensed repair facilities by licensed mechanics. Inspection reports are submitted to MDOT by the limo carriers and reviewed by MDOT staff. If approved, the carrier is mailed an official MDOT decal.\r\nBus carriers also will receive the same decal design as limos. MDOT commercial bus safety inspectors will print the decals on site after a vehicle has passed the MDOT safety inspection. Previously, inspectors had to punch out the inspection expiration date on a pre-produced decal.\r\n"We believe these new decals will be great for customer service," said Rob Pearson, supervisor of MDOT's Bus and Limousine Regulatory Unit. "Now carriers, consumers, and law enforcement can easily look for one decal design from MDOT that indicates a vehicle has passed an MDOT-approved safety inspection."\r\nDecals are located on the left-hand side of all for-hire buses and limousines that are authorized by MDOT. Depending on the vehicle, the decals will either be affixed to a window closest to the driver, rear-side window, or on the rear passenger door window.\r\nPrinting the decals on demand versus ordering an annual supply of pre-printed decals will save the state an estimated $1,000 per year.\r\nLimousines are defined as passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of 15 passengers or less, including the driver. They can be traditional limos, town cars, taxicabs operating without a meter, non-emergency medical transportation, and transportation network companies, such as Uber or Lyft. MDOT licenses about 1,000 limousine companies each year, including more than 4,300 limos.\r\nBuses are for-hire passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of 16 passengers or more, including the driver. They can include motor coaches, charter buses, stretched limos, party buses, shuttle buses, and school buses engaged in charter transportation. MDOT licenses about 214 bus companies yearly, including more than 2,700 buses.\r\nBy law, all for-hire bus and limousine carriers are required to have an MDOT certificate of authority, have proper commercial liability insurance, pass vehicle safety inspections, and pay fees in order to operate on Michigan roads. Carriers who operate illegally could be cited by law enforcement and face fines starting at $500.\r\nConsumers are reminded to check if a bus or limousine carrier is licensed before stepping into a vehicle or signing a contract. Beyond looking for the safety inspection decals, visit the MDOT Bus and Limousine website at www.michigan.gov\/busandlimo then select "Current List of Carriers" under Additional Information to see if the company is licensed by the state. If a company is not listed, it is likely that the operator is providing service illegally and should not be used. Consumers also can call MDOT's Bus and Limousine Regulatory Unit, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 517-241-0679 for companies starting with A-K, or 517-241-0680 for companies starting from L-Z.