Addresses Single Largest Cause of Fatal Intercity Bus Accidents - Driver Fatigue ATU Urges Congress To Pass Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – New legislation addressing the single largest cause of fatal intercity bus accidents - driver fatigue – was praised by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents drivers at Greyhound and other intercity bus operators.
The Driver Fatigue Prevention Act, introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, ensures that the overtime provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are applied to drivers of over-the-road buses. Currently these bus drivers are exempt from these provisions and many are forced to work second jobs during their so-called “rest period” just to make ends meet. The bill is the latest and most crucial ATU-supported motor coach safety legislation currently being considered by Congress.
“Hundreds of intercity bus companies get away with paying their bus drivers criminally low wages, forcing drivers to work 100 hours a week or more, often balancing two or three jobs, just to make a living. The unsuspecting customers get on these buses and disaster can strike,” said Lawrence J. Hanley, international president of the ATU. “This bill extending intercity bus drivers the same overtime protections that have covered 85 percent of American workers for decades is not only the right thing to do; it’s the safe thing to do for our riders.”
A recent report on the curbside bus industry by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found “driver fatigue to be a contributing factor to fatal motorcoach accidents and identified driver fatigue as a issue on its Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements.”
The NTSB estimates that 36 percent of motorcoach crash fatalities over the past decade have been due to driver fatigue. It is the number one cause of fatal accidents, far above road conditions (two percent) or inattention (six percent).
“As the NTSB data shows driver fatigue is a serious problem throughout the intercity bus industry,” Hanley continued. “We urge Congress to put the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act on the fast track to ensure intercity bus drivers don’t have to resort to doctoring log books, working other jobs and wearily reporting for duty with a giant cup of coffee.”
Media Contacts: David Roscow, 202-537-1645 x 254
About the ATU
The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264 local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.