U.S. bus operators may face new limits on drivers’ work hours, after the Department of Transportation last week released revised rules for truckers and airline pilots.
The agency is seeking public comment and data on driving time and its association with safety as it considers new rules, according to a notice set for publication tomorrow in the Federal Register. Bus companies operate differently from trucking companies, requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to gather separate data, the notice said.
Rules for driving and on-duty time for bus drivers haven’t been updated in “several decades,” the notice said. It is looking into possible changes at a time the bus has become the fastest-growing mode of U.S. transportation, with daily departures up 7.1 percent this year, according to a DePaul University study released Dec. 21.
Twenty-eight people have died in eight U.S. bus crashes this year. The National Transportation Safety Board warned in an Oct. 31 study that curbside operators, which account for most of the industry’s growth, are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal wreck than intercity lines with more conventional business models.
The agency will hear comments on Jan. 9 in Grapevine, Texas.
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