Limits on Driving Hours for Bus and Truck Drivers in California
Vehicle Code 21702

Vehicle Code 21702 VC is the California statute that limits driving hours for bus drivers and truck drivers.

VC 21702 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:

california vc 21702 limitation on driving hours for truck drivers
Vehicle Code 21702 VC is the California statute that limits driving hours for bus drivers and truck drivers.

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 for violating VC 21702

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 if a driver violates Vehicle Code 21702

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:

  1. There was a mistake in computing hours driven; and,
  2. There was an emergency or accident requiring longer drive hours.
man thinking about avoiding a traffic ticket
Bus and truck drivers cannot ignore a ticket for violating Vehicle Code 21702.

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:

  1. The driver violates California Vehicle Code 40508 VC, for the failure to appear in court on a traffic citation; and,
  2. 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:

In a civil suit, the injured party may recover both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Examples of these include:

  • Medical bills,
  • Lost income
  • Vehicle repair
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain

6. Laws related to Vehicle Code 21702

There are several laws related to VC 21702. These include:

  1. Trucks and buses speeding over 55 miles per hour – Vehicle Code 22406;
  2. Passing a stopped school bus – Vehicle Code 22454(a); and,
  3. DUI and commercial drivers license – Vehicle Code 23152(d).

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)

California Vehicle Code 22454 (a) VC says drivers cannot pass stopped school buses displaying flashing red signals.11

A driver that violates this code section receives:

  1. A fine of up to $695; and,
  2. One point on his DMV driving record.12

6.3. DUI and commercial drivers license – Vehicle Code 23152(d)

Vehicle Code 23152(d) makes it a crime to drive a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of .04% or higher.13

Potential court-ordered penalties for commercial drivers convicted of a first-time California DUI can include:

Penalties increase with subsequent convictions.

Were you accused of driving too many hours in California? Call us for help…

california traffic attorneys standing by
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been cited for violating VC 21702, or has been injured in an accident in California, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LAWFIRM.

Legal References:

  1. Vehicle Code 21702(a) VC.

  2. Vehicle Code 21702(b) VC.

  3. Vehicle Code 21702 (e) VC.

  4. See same.

  5. Vehicle Code 40508 VC.

  6. CALCRIM 2240, endnote 1.

  7. See same.

  8. Vehicle Code 40508 VC, endnote 1.

  9. California Penal Code 19 PC.

  10. See DMV.org.

  11. Vehicle Code 22454(a) VC.

  12. See DMV.org.

  13. Vehicle Code 23152(d) VC.

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