When drivers spend too much time behind the wheel without taking reasonable breaks, they become a liability to others on the roadway. California Vehicle Code Section 21702 aims to minimize the incidences of overworked and under-rested truck and bus drivers on the roads.
Under VC 21702, it is a misdemeanor for bus or truck drivers to drive too many consecutive hours without a break or too many total hours in a day. At the Simmrin Law Group, we can help if you face a charge for spending too many hours driving a truck or bus. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.
What Are the Service Hour Limits for Bus and Truck Drivers?
California Vehicle Code Section 21702 places limits on how many hours truck and bus drivers can drive. Truck drivers are often faced with pressures from their employers to meet deadlines. Sometimes, incentive programs are even offered to employees for faster deliveries.
These pressures often lead to drivers spending too much time on the road, which poses a safety risk to everyone on the road. California VC 21702 aims to combat these employer pressures and keep the roads safe.
Under VC 21702, truck drivers are restricted from:
- Driving more than 12 consecutive hours in a day
- Driving more than 12 hours in a 15-hour period
- Driving more than 12 hours in a day unless they have eight consecutive hours of off-duty time
The hours for bus drivers are more restrictive than those for truck drivers. Bus drivers are prohibited from:
- Driving more than 10 consecutive hours in a day
- Driving more than 10 hours in a 15-hour period
- Driving more than 10 hours in a day unless they have eight consecutive hours of off-duty time
It is important to note that if a driver began their day driving in another state, the hours they spent on the road before entering California would be counted towards their daily totals once crossing the state border.
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What Are the Penalties for a Violation of VC 21702?
Violating Vehicle Code Section 21702 is a misdemeanor offense in California. According to this statute, a driver guilty of a service hours violation will receive a fine of no less than $100 and no more than $1,000.
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Don’t Ignore a VC 21702 Ticket
The biggest mistake you can make if you receive a ticket for a violation of VC 21702 is to ignore it. When a driver receives a traffic citation in California, they are required to sign a written promise to appear in court. Failure to appear in court is a violation of California Vehicle Code 40508.
California Vehicle Code Section 40508: Failure to Appear is a misdemeanor charge. The penalties for a violation can include:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Summary probation
You are not required to appear in court if you do not plan to contest your ticket and pay your fine before your court date.
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What Defenses Can I Use Against a VC 21702 Charge?
If a driver gets ticketed for exceeding driving hours under Vehicle Code 21702, there are defenses they can use to fight the charge. The two most common arguments are that there was a mistake in their driver’s log or that an emergency situation forced them to exceed their daily limits.
Mistake in Driver’s Log
Truck drivers are required to keep a logbook of all the hours that they spend on the road. If you are ticketed for driving over the hours limit after the ticketing officer reviews your log, you might be able to argue that you made an error when entering your hours. Many commercial trucks now also come equipped with an Electronic Logging Device (ELD).
If your ELD does not match your logbook and instead shows that you were complying with service hour limits, you can enter this log as proof that you did not violate VC 21702.
If an emergency occurred that forced you to exceed your driving hour limits, you might be able to beat a ticket in court. However, you need to be prepared to show evidence that an emergency occurred as well as why it forced you to exceed your driving limits. An experienced traffic violations lawyer can help you build a strong defense.
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Contact a Traffic Violations Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you feel you were wrongfully ticketed for a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 21702: Limits on Driving Hours for Truck and Bus Drivers in California, Simmrin Law Group can help you get the ticket thrown out. Hiring a lawyer will not only increase your chances of beating a ticket, but you can also avoid a trip to court as they can appear in court on your behalf.
If you plan to contest your ticket, give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started. We offer prospective clients a free, no-obligation case evaluation. A member of our team will review your case and inform you of all your legal options.