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What You Need to Know About Motor Coach Driver Laws

By November 12, 2014 February 3rd, 2016 One Comment

motor coach driver

Although there is much to see and do at your destination, it is our goal to maximize the safety of the experience even more than the learning.

Motor coach driver laws provide the time framework for a school trip. When traffic slows you down or you are tempted to squeeze in just one more thing, be sure that your schedule still complies with federal and motor coach company regulations (detailed below).

What is the daily maximum drive time for a  motor coach driver?

The motor coach driver may only drive a maximum of  10 hours (at the controls) after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

§395.5(a)(1)   Maximum driving time for passenger-carrying vehicles. 


How long can the motor coach driver be on duty?

A driver may work a maximum of 15 hours (10  of which can be driving) following 8  consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after having been on-duty for 15 hours.

§395.5(a)(2)   Maximum driving time for passenger-carrying vehicles.


How do you define “on duty”?

All time from the time a driver  begins to work or is required to be in  readiness to work until the time the driver  is relieved from work and all responsibility  for performing work.


How does this apply to me?

Federal regulations carry over to passengers. “No person shall aid, abet, encourage, or  require a motor carrier or its employees to violate the rules of this chapter.”

This comes into play during the tour, when itinerary modifications may be desired. Group leaders cannot insist on modifications in route that violate the maximum driving time laws for motor coach operators.

§390.13   Aiding or abetting violations.


When does a motor coach driver’s day begin and end?

A motor coach driver’s day does not begin when the passengers step on the bus in the morning nor does it end when the passengers step off in the evening.

  • The morning of departure motor coach driver’s must undergo inspection at the company facility.
  • On tour mornings, the motor coach driver performs daily safety checks, warms up the bus, and completes necessary paperwork before departing the hotel.
  • In the evenings, the motor coach driver cleans the bus, completes the log books, and refuels.

These activities easily add 30-90 minutes to a motor coach driver’s on-duty time. Please keep this in mind on tour.


Are these  policies  consistent  across motor coach companies?

Not necessarily. Each motor coach company can design their own guidelines, as long as they are compliant with federal regulations. Certain companies maintain 14 hours on-duty with 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Check with your Scholastica travel consultant on the specific guildelines for your group’s motor coach company.


Keep in mind that motor coach companies are driven to protect their passengers safety. These regulations are in place for the wellbeing of all travelers, including the motor coach driver.

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