Service Hours Regulations and Other Safety Laws for Bus Drivers

Driving a bus can be a difficult task, and drivers must be careful to adhere to all precautions to get their passengers to their destination safely. The size and control system of a bus requires dedicated attention, and the number of passengers can be distracting.

Bus drivers must follow clearly defined safety regulations that are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA creates the legal parameters for drivers of all commercial and passenger-carrying vehicles. Some common causes of bus accidents (such as distracted driving, intoxication, and other reckless behavior) can be avoided simply by the driver being responsible. However, these regulations establish limits on allotted driving times, cargo weights, and more, and are intended to prevent some of the other common causes of collisions.

Hours-of-Service Regulations

To limit driver fatigue, bus drivers are only legally allowed to drive for a set number of hours every trip. Drivers must pertain to specific on-duty, off-duty, and driving times to remain within the legal limits. They are required to maintain daily logs to track their hours.

Bus drivers can only be on-duty for 15 hours. Their on-duty time must also follow six hours of consecutive off-duty time, allowing drivers a significant break between shifts. Only ten hours can be spent driving after the eight hour off-duty break. The ten hours do not have to be consecutive, but once that limit is reached, they must stop driving for the day.

The FMCSA also established weekly limits on work time for drivers. Depending on if the driver worked a seven or eight day period, they can only be on duty for 60 or 70 total hours for the week.

Other Regulations

Bus drivers must also follow weight limits and maintenance regulations. An overloaded vehicle, or one that is not in repair, pose risks as significant as driver fatigue and error.

In California, the gross weight of any vehicle cannot exceed 80,000 pounds, with different regulations depending on the vehicle’s axle group and classification.

The FMCSA established maintenance laws for passenger vehicles, which require the regular inspection and repair of a bus’s parts, along with accompanying reports of the maintenance.

Bus accidents can cause severe injuries and significant medical bills. Contact Tedford & Associates if you were injured in a bus accident — you may be entitled to compensation.

For a free initial case evaluation, send us a message or call (626) 325-0142.


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