Washington, DC – Today, on the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) reintroduced the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act to address driver fatigue-related intercity bus crashes and lessen the frequency of these deadly collisions that claim nearly 40,000 lives per year. This critical legislation will also ensure intercity bus drivers are compensated for their labor, benefiting from basic overtime protections. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“Bus drivers who are over-worked without overtime pay or regard for safety can become a danger to themselves, their passengers, and other travelers,” Rep. Speier said. “Yet current law not only allows but incents companies to keep bus drivers on the road past the point of exhaustion. The FLSA, which was signed into law 81 years ago today, marked a new era of safety and economic fairness for Americans. Congress needs to bring protections for bus drivers into the modern age so that all Americans can feel safe traveling our roadways.”
“We know that driver fatigue is causing accidents and we have an obligation to do something about it,” Sen. Casey said. “By ensuring that employers must compensate their bus drivers for every hour of work completed, they are less likely to overwork their employees. If my colleagues are serious about making our roads safer, than we must pass this legislation.”
“It is fitting on the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that Congresswoman Speier reintroduce this legislation to extend intercity bus drivers the same overtime protections that have covered 85 percent of American workers for decades,” said John Costa, president of Amalgamated Transit Union International. “The summer travel season is in high gear and many bus companies will be trying to attract riders with cheap fares, free Wi-Fi, live TV, comfortable seats and other so-called luxuries. But what about their safety record, their drivers’ experience, pay, and hours behind the wheel? It’s time for Congress to pass the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act 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.”
Currently, bus drivers are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime provisions, which cover the majority of American workers. Rep. Speier’s legislation would extend these overtime provisions to intercity bus drivers and help ensure that drivers are compensated for the full amount of work that they complete, thus making employers less likely to overwork their drivers.