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Protecting Motorcoach Drivers from Exhaustion

Limitations Set by FMCSA
 
Long gone are the days when a sleep-deprived driver could cross the country with a big bus full of passengers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has requirements that limit the hours for drivers of motorcoaches, or passenger-carrying commercial vehicles. Property-carrying commercial vehicles follow different rules. 
 
The current rules state that drivers of passenger vehicles cannot drive any more than 10 hours after 8 hours off duty, or for any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
 
No motor carrier company can allow any passenger-carrying driver to drive, regardless of number of motor carriers using the driver"s services, for any period after the driver has been on duty:   
 
60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the carrier does not operate CMVs every day of the week;
70 hours in any 8 consecutive days if the carrier operates CMVs every day of the week.
 
What Is "Off-Duty- Time?
 
During a trip, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the bus or passenger-carrying CMV, its accessories, and any passengers, baggage, and freight that it may be transporting. During a trip, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing and to leave the premises where the bus or passenger-carrying CMV is parked.   The driver must not be performing any work in the capacity, employ, or service of a bus company or motor carrier. The driver must not be performing any compensated work for a person or company that is not a motor carrier.
 
What about "On-Duty-?
 
On-duty time means all time from the time a driver begins work or is required to be in readiness for work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibilities for performing work. Performing other compensated work for a person who is not a motor carrier is also on-duty time.
 
When a driver at the direction of a motor carrier is traveling, but not driving any vehicle or assuming any other responsibility to the carrier ("cushioning-), such time shall be counted as on-duty time unless the driver is afforded at least 8 consecutive hours off duty when arriving at destination, in which case he/she shall be considered off duty for the entire period.
 
For full details on relief drivers and other regulations, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

By Neil Whitehall
Get Bus Driver Jobs, Contributing Editor

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