In contracting for bus service, you assume that the trip will be a safe one. You should. Bus transportation is the safest on the highway. However, analysis of serious highway accidents that do involve buses often point to driver fatigue as a major cause. Economic, consumer and scheduling demands often drive this problem; however, driver fatigue can produce deadly results. Studies prove that drivers who suffer from fatigue experience:
- Reduced alertness to conditions around the vehicle
- Distractions by irrelevant stimuli which interfere with their concentration
- Lapses in attention
- Slower reaction time in critical situations
- Adverse effects on memory, reasoning, communicating, decision making and an increased number of operating errors
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has restrictions on how long a driver can operate a commercial vehicle. The “Hours of Service” rules are sensible guidelines for safe operation of the vehicle. Different rules apply to drivers operating in Canada and Mexico. The USDOT regulation 395.10 restricts a driver’s actual on-the-road time. The rule has three componenents:
- 10 HOUR RULE A driver cannot drive more than 10 hours following eight (8) consecutive hours off- duty (adverse conditions and emergency situations are exceptions).
- 15 HOUR RULE After 15 hours on-duty (driving and on-duty not driving) a driver cannot continue driving until eight (8) consecutive hours off-duty are taken. On-duty not driving includes time for pre-trip inspecting, meal times and delays.
- 70 HOUR RULE On-duty time cannot exceed 70 hours for any period of eight (8) consecutive days.