Chartering a motorcoach may not be something you do – or even think about – everyday. It’s a service that you may need once or twice in your lifetime, so it can be confusing to understand what all the safety standards mean, and how the company you are working with makes sure that these standards are met.
So what does the law state and how do we at Northfield Lines ensure that our drivers meet these standards?
The law states: Motor and mini coach drivers are not permitted to drive over 10 hours or be on duty for over 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. In the case of adverse weather conditions for which a driver cannot, because of the said conditions, safely complete the run within the maximum drive time permitted, he/she may drive for an additional 2 hours in order to complete the run or to reach a place offering safety for the occupants of the vehicle.
What does that mean? All Northfield Lines drivers are not allowed to drive over 10 hours at a time without a period of 8 hours off duty. Drivers can be on duty for a maximum of 15 hours at a time. This is a period of 5 hours of non-driving activity, but still being engaged in actions that include the motorcoach and the group like maintaining the coach, waiting for the group, making trip preparations or being on-call.
When our sales team books your charter, they create an order that is sent to our dispatch department, who assign a driver and coach bus to it. Our fleet management software will alert the dispatcher if the driver has been assigned to a trip before or after the new charter order, and lets him know that this driver may not be eligible to drive during the proposed time.
In keeping with the federal and state laws, all Northfield Lines drivers fill out driver logs each day and record their on and off duty times. Soon all our driver logs will be digital with the installation of our new SAUCON driving software, which will record the driver time and off duty times and send this information directly to our safety director and dispatch office.
If you have any questions regarding our safety standards, please contact Craig Osborne, Director of Safety at Northfield Lines on 651-203-8885.