Cosponsor the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act (S. 487)
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to cosponsor the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act (S. 487) introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), which was unanimously endorsed by our 32-union Executive Committee last month. The Schumer bill would improve bus safety and address driver fatigue problems by applying overtime coverage when intercity bus drivers work more than 40 hours in a week.
Every year, over 1,000 people die in over-the-road bus accidents. Many of these tragedies are caused in part by chronically fatigued drivers who are exempted from federal overtime rules that encourage dangerously excessive hours. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that driver-related problems account for 60 percent of intercity bus crash fatalities while fatigue is responsible for over one-third of fatalities.
Unlike 85 percent of American workers, intercity bus drivers are exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), meaning they are denied time-and-a-half pay when they work over 40 hours in a week. Over-the-road buses travel between cities, often over long distances and are separate from services provided by public transit buses used for daily purposes like commuting. The overtime exemption incentivizes unsafe bus operations and reveals a harsh reality: many bus drivers work grueling hours or hold second jobs during their rest period to make ends meet.
Senator Schumer’s legislation would ensure that drivers would be compensated fairly for the work they perform after working 40 hours in a week. It would help drivers to earn a living wage, thereby lowering the incentive to take second jobs or to work excessive hours.
On behalf of transportation labor, I urge you to cosponsor the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act and help improve bus safety on our roads and the working conditions of bus drivers.