Bus Accidents and Hours of Service Violations
When we choose a bus as our mode of transportation, whether we are going around the corner or across the country, we generally assume that the driver is well rested and alert. Unfortunately, there is a growing pool of evidence indicating that many of the people who take on responsibility for our safe transport have not gotten the sleep or rest that they need.
Sleep deprivation is becoming an increasingly concerning topic of conversation with regard to bus accidents. Millions of people use buses as their form of transportation across this country, and special rules and regulations have been put in place to ensure that they are not driving for too many hours and have gotten sufficient rest. Unfortunately, not all companies or drivers adhere to these rules.
The Rules Regarding Bus Drivers Hours of Service
It does not matter whether the driver of a bus is employed by a municipality, a school district, or a private company, there are certain rules that exist that were written to ensure that the people that they are driving are safe. The hours of service laws were specifically written to ensure that those driving large numbers of passengers in heavy vehicles are not tired or likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
The laws that are in place regarding bus drivers and how long they are allowed to drive restrict a driver to no more than eight hours of duty at a time and no more than sixty hours in a seven-day period or seventy hours in an eight-day period. Drivers must not drive after having been on duty for at least fifteen consecutive hours.
Reasons why Bus Drivers and Bus Companies Ignore Hours of Service Rules
There are a number of reasons why bus drivers ignore these rules and why the companies for whom they drive may turn a blind eye on their disregard for the regulations. Often drivers are motivated by a need for money. If they are paid hourly they may be tempted to drive more hours then the are supposed to.
Drivers may also feel pressure to put in more hours in order to meet exacting and rigorous schedules imposed by the bus companies. If a company does not have enough drivers to put multiple drivers on a route, they may pressure the drivers to drive beyond the number of hours that are legally considered to be safe.