Many new charter bus drivers do not realize they are held to the FMCSA and DOT hours of service (HOS) regulations the same as truck drivers. However, the rules are different for bus drivers, but an HOS violation can be just as expensive for a bus driver as a truck driver.
Many other CDL holders will tell them things like, “Just pay the fine and move on.” Or “you cannot beat a traffic ticket; the judge will go along with the LEO. You’re just wasting more money trying.” Don't believe that hype. Your career could be over before it begins.
Most of what we’ve seen in traffic courts across California shows us just the opposite is true. The judge most often wants to give the commercial driver a break. They understand bus drivers and truck drivers are out there trying to get people and products where they need to go. It might be easier than you think to get a reduced no-point violation or dismissal.
Consult with a Traffic Ticket Attorney about an HOS Violation
When you get an HOS violation, your best option is to consult with a traffic attorney that offers a free initial consultation. After all, what do you have to lose, besides your livelihood, if you don’t try to fight it?
Many fleet managers do not have patience or sympathy for a CDL holder that gets a conviction and points added to their DOT Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score. More CSA points mean higher fleet insurance. They would sometimes rather take the chance of hiring a new bus driver fresh out of school than a driver with ten or fifteen years with a clean record who gets an HOS violation conviction. Is it fair? No, but you know it’s what they do.
Remember, you do not have to violate the HOS rules to get a “driving while fatigued or ill” violation, a maximum of ten CSA points.
As stated above, passenger carriers have different HOS standards than truckers. Check the FMCSA Regulation Part 395.5 pamphlet, Maximum Driving Time for Passenger – Carrying Vehicles.
According to that FMCSA pamphlet, the passenger bus driver cannot drive more than 10 hours after an eight consecutive hour rest and not drive any time after a 15-hour duty day without eight hours rest.
That means if the driver is there at eight to begin their workday, they load cargo on the bus, or whatever they need to do to prepare for the trip, 15 hours later, they can no longer drive regardless of how many hours they have driven.
Also, the driver cannot drive more than 60 hours during a 7-consecutive day period or 70 hours during an 8-consecutive day period, regardless of how many carriers they spread the HOS over. If they work for two or three charter bus companies, their cumulative hours cannot exceed 60 or 70.
Check the regulation for exceptions, multiple drivers, sleeper berths, and other abnormal circumstances.
Where to Get a Consultation with a Traffic Attorney for Woodland Traffic Court
Give us a free call, at Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We can assist passenger bus drivers with an HOS violation or other traffic issues in the Woodland, Yolo County area. Whether you have a ticket, a roadside inspection violation, or need help at a DMV NOTS hearing, we will be there for you.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The Balance article, A Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation
The FMCSA Regulation Part 395.5 pamphlet, Maximum Driving Time for Passenger – Carrying Vehicles