Recent deadly crashes involving buses have increased concern about driver fatigue. Currently, federal regulations allow bus drivers up to 10 hours behind the wheel followed by a minimum of eight hours at rest. That adds up to 18 hours, making it legal for a driver to work an entire shift and start a second shift in a single 24-hour period. Additionally, bus drivers have a 15-hour window in which they can be considered on duty. In other words, a bus driver can drive five hours, wait five hours at a terminal to pick up passengers, and then drive five more hours. If a bus driver takes off duty breaks, that 15-hour window can be extended.
Rules differ for truck drivers, who are permitted to drive for 11 straight hours after 10 hours off. Truck drivers have a hard 14-hour window, which can’t be extended.
It is unclear if the government will change the on duty hour limitations for bus drivers. Industry leaders claim that the current regulations are appropriate and only a few carriers are skirting the law. However, it is clear that in light of the recent deadly crashes, the government needs to change the duty hour limitations for bus drivers.
Contact Boyd B. Newton PC, a prominent Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney in Atlanta, for more information.