Proposed Legislation: Driver Fatigue Prevention Act.

Senator Charles Schumer introduced a bill amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to cover over-the-road bus drivers and requiring that they be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. The bill would add an amendment to the FLSA within Section 13(b)(1), by inserting the words: “except a driver of an over-the-road bus.”

Currently, over-the-road bus drivers are exempt from the maximum hours provisions of the FLSA. The bill, The Driver Fatigue Prevention Act (S. 1977), revises the FLSA, to eliminate the overtime exemption, which applies to “any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service.” As a result, over-the-road bus drivers will be entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a given workweek. An ‘over-the-road bus’ “means a bus characterized by an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment.”

According to this article, professional drivers do not work 70 hours per week because they want to, but because it is the only way to earn a living wage and for many, seventy hours in a week can still fall short of a decent paycheck.