Vehicle Code 21702 VC is the California statute that limits driving hours for bus drivers and truck drivers. The statute makes it a misdemeanor for bus and truck drivers to drive for too many consecutive hours and/or too many hours in one day.
There are three important points to know about Vehicle Code 21702.
- A driver that violates the section receives a fine between $100 and $1,000.
- Drivers can challenge a ticket for violating VC 21702 by raising a legal defense. It’s best, though, for drivers to consult with an attorney before doing so.
- Bus and truck drivers cannot ignore tickets for violating Vehicle Code 21702. This results in the violation of a new law, failure to appear, pursuant to California Vehicle Code 40508.
Our California personal injury attorneys will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. Vehicle Code 21702 – Limitations on driving hours in California
- 2. The penalties
- 3. Legal defenses
- 4. Ignoring a ticket for driving too many hours
- 5. Personal injury lawsuits following a bus/truck accident
- 6. Related laws
1. Vehicle Code 21702 – Limitations on driving hours in California
California Vehicle Code 21702 limits the amount of hours bus and truck drivers can drive.
Under this section, no bus driver may drive:
- For more than 10 consecutive hours in a day;
- For more than 10 hours in a 15-hour period; and,
- For more than 10 hours in a day, unless 8 hours of off-duty time.1
As to truck drivers, VC 21702 states that no truck driver may drive:
- For more than 12 consecutive hours in a day;
- For more than 12 hours in a 15-hour period; and,
- For more than 12 hours in a day, unless 8 hours of off-duty time.2
2. The penalties
A driver that violates VC 21702 is guilty of a misdemeanor.3
The driver will also receive a fine. The fine amount is between $100 and $1,000.4
3. Legal defenses
A driver that exceeds permissible driving hours can raise a legal defense to show that he was innocent. If this is done, though, it’s best for the driver to contact an attorney for help.
There are two common defenses to a violation of Vehicle Code 21702. These are:
- There was a mistake in computing hours driven; and,
- There was an emergency or accident requiring longer drive hours.
4. Ignoring tickets for driving too many hours
Bus and truck drivers cannot ignore a ticket for violating Vehicle Code 21702. Two things result if this happens. These are:
- The driver violates California Vehicle Code 40508 VC, for the failure to appear in court on a traffic citation; and,
- The driver receives penalties for violating VC 40508.
4.1. Violation of Vehicle Code 40508
If a driver gets a ticket in California, he must sign a written promise to appear in court.
If the driver willfully fails to appear, he violates Vehicle Code 40508 VC.5 The driver willfully fails to appear when he is willingly a no-show. It’s not even a defense if the driver did not intend to break the law.6
It also does not matter whether the offending driver is guilty or innocent of the underlying traffic ticket.7 He violates Vehicle Code 40508 just by breaking a promise to:
- Appear in court,
- Appear to pay bail,
- Pay bail in installments,
- Pay a fine within the time authorized, or
- Comply with any condition of the court.8
4.2. Penalties for violating VC 40508
A violation of Vehicle Code 40508 VC is a misdemeanor. The penalties include:
- Up to six months in county jail, and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.9
5. Personal injury lawsuits following a bus/truck accident
Violations of VC 21702 are unfortunately common. The violators compromise public safety and do cause serious accidents.
Persons must know that they can file a civil lawsuit against a driver following either a:
- Medical bills,
- Lost income
- Vehicle repair
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain
6. Related laws
There are several laws related to VC 21702. These include:
- Trucks and buses speeding over 55 miles per hour – Vehicle Code 22406;
- Passing a stopped school bus – Vehicle Code 22454(a); and,
- DUI and commercial drivers license – Vehicle Code 23152(d).
- Commercial vehicles failing to comply with CHP rules – Vehicle Code 34506 VC.
6.1. Trucks and buses speeding over 55 miles per hour – Vehicle Code 22406
California Vehicle Code 22406 VC imposes a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour for drivers of trucks and buses, when upon a California freeway.
Drivers that violate this code section must pay a fine. The amount of the fine depends on how fast the driver was driving. In general, fines can range from $285 to over $500.
Violators of VC 22406 will also receive either 1 or 1.5 points on their DMV driving record.10
6.2. Passing a stopped school bus – Vehicle Code 22454(a)
A driver that violates this code section receives:
- A fine of up to $695; and,
- One point on his DMV driving record.12
6.3. DUI and commercial drivers license – Vehicle Code 23152(d)
Potential court-ordered penalties for commercial drivers convicted of a first-time California DUI can include:
- Informal (summary) probation;
- Up to one year in county jail;
- Between $390 and $1,000 in fines; and/or
- A three to 36-month court-ordered California DUI school.
Penalties increase with subsequent convictions.