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Are commercial bus drivers subject to federal regulation?

People frequently travel in cars and other smaller passenger vehicles to get from place to place. However, in large cities, passenger vehicles share the roads with larger vehicles meant for mass transit -- generally buses. While some busses are meant for shorter trips, other buses can carry people across the state of Washington and even across the country. Passengers want to ensure that they are safe on these buses, and may, therefore, wonder if these bus drivers are subject to federal regulations.

In particular, people may wonder if commercial bus drivers are subject to hours of service regulations which define the amount of time that a driver can be on the roads without a break. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers have to follow federal hours of service regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle.

There are several requirements that can be met in order to for a vehicle to be considered a CMV. These include

  • Designed to transport nine or more people for compensation
  • Designed to transport 16 or more people without compensation
  • The vehicles weight rating is more than 10,001 pounds
  • The vehicle is heavier than 10,001 pounds
  • Transports hazardous material using placards

If any of the requirements are met, then the driver must follow the federal regulations. If these hours of service regulations are not followed, and a bus accident occurs, then the driver or the bus company could be held liable for the damage caused in the accident.

While this post cannot provide specific advice about whether a particular vehicle is considered a CMV, an attorney can help make that determination. By designating a vehicle a CMV these rules and other safety regulations could apply. Crash victims should understand these rights to ensure just compensation following an accident.

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