The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA,) a division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), provides regulatory guidance for coach drivers in the United States. The term "coach" is a throwback to pre-automobile days when one means of land transportation was a closed carriage pulled by a team of four or more horses. Modern day coaches are buses that take nine or more passengers on journeys across town or across the country.
15-Hours on Duty
The FMCSA specifies the hours of service a coach driver can work in a given time span. Currently a coach driver cannot drive after being on duty for 15 hours until he takes an eight-hour break. Your employer can require you to continue to work after 15 hours but he cannot require that you drive.
10-Hour Driving Limit
The maximum number of hours a coach driver can drive without an eight-hour break is 10. The FMCSA does not limit how long you drive in one stretch; you can drive for a few minutes or up to 10 hours. Once you reach 10 hours of driving though, you must take an eight-hour break. Your employer can require you to continue to work after 10 hours of driving but cannot require you to drive.
Driver's Daily Log
A coach driver maintains a log of her duty statuses to track her time at work. The logbook must be current as of the driver's last change of duty and must be true. The driver must fill in the logbook in her own handwriting and sign it each day. The log page covers a 24-hour span and has the four duty statuses a driver will encounter in a day: "Off-Duty," "Sleeper Berth," "Driving" and "On-Duty Not Driving." Drivers must show their logbook to any government or police official any time an officer asks to see it.
A commercial coach driver must have a commercial driver's license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement. A CDL holder will take a knowledge test covering topics such as procedures for passenger loading and unloading, using emergency exits and equipment and braking. If the driver is receiving a license for a particular vehicle group, he must take a skills test in the type of vehicle he will be driving.
Coach drivers must take a pre-employment drug test and are subject to their employer's random testing requirements. If a driver tests positive for a controlled substance, she cannot remain on duty or perform any safety-sensitive job.
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