Was the bus driver who caused your accident drowsy? He may have violated these federal regulations regarding the hours he is allowed to drive without a break.

Hours of Service Regulations Bus Drivers and Their Employers Must Follow

Close up of bus driver

Like commercial truck drivers, bus drivers can cause tragic accidents due to fatigue and driving too many hours. In an effort to combat this problem and save lives, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours of service rules that limit the number of hours a bus driver can drive without a break. Unfortunately, bus drivers and their employers do not always follow these regulations, and this may have been the cause of your bus accident.

What Are the Hours of Service Regulations for Buses?

Although both truck and bus drivers are required to follow federal regulations governing the number of hours they work, the rules for each are different. Bus and other passenger vehicle drivers have the following limitations:

  • 10-hour driving limit. Bus drivers may drive a maximum of 10 consecutive hours after they have had eight consecutive hours off duty.
  • 15-hour work limit. Bus drivers may only be on duty for a maximum of 15 hours after being off work for eight consecutive hours.
  • 60/70-hour weekly work limit. Bus drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days if the company does not operate every day of the week or 70 hours in eight consecutive days if the company runs buses every day of the week.

Off-duty time is not specifically defined in the regulations but generally includes time not driving, not on-duty, and not in a sleeper berth. Under federal guidelines, a driver is considered off-duty if the following conditions are met:

  • The bus driver was relieved of all responsibility for the bus, passengers, and any baggage.
  • The bus driver must be free to do what he wants and to leave the location where the bus is parked.
  • The bus driver must not be performing any work—driving or non-driving duties—and cannot be performing any other compensated work for another person or company.

Do you suspect bus driver fatigue was the cause of your bus accident? The driver may have been driving longer than allowed under these federal rules. You need an experienced bus accident attorney to investigate the cause of your crash and obtain the evidence from the bus driver and bus company to prove violation of these FMCSA regulations. Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help.