Dangerous bus drivers Australia
If you are the holder of a bus driver authority, your authority is subject to the conditions prescribed in the regulations and the following additional conditions.
- You must comply with all provisions of:
- The Passenger Transport Act 1990 and the regulations, and
- The road transport legislation as may apply in the circumstances.
- You must, by the next business day, advise Roads and Maritime Services in writing if:
- Your driver licence expires or has been cancelled or suspended
- In Australia or in another country you are charged with or convicted of:
- A criminal offence
- An offence, other than an offence which is an offence within the meaning of the road transport legislation
- An offence in connection with a public passenger service which is an offence within the meaning of the road transport legislation other than a parking offence.
Change of name or address
The Passenger Transport Regulation 2007, clause 235, states that if you change your name or address, you must notify the Public Passenger Services section of Roads and Maritime in writing of your new name or address within seven days of the change. Maximum fine $550.
You can use the Notification of Change of Address form to advise us of your new address.
Bus driver responsibilities
Authorised bus drivers (including tourist bus drivers) must comply with all relevant requirements of the Passenger Transport Regulation 2007. Some of these requirements are listed here.
Bus drivers must not:
- Tout or solicit for passengers or for a hiring
- Leave the driving seat of the bus without reasonable excuse
- Smoke in the bus at any time
- Eat or drink in the bus when in service or hired or available for hire
- Move the bus while any door is open
- Falsely advertise that they are authorised bus drivers
- Carry any person on a tourist service bus whom you have reason to believe is not a tourist.
Bus drivers must
- Ensure their vehicle is clean and tidy
- Be clean and tidy, and be properly attired and wear enclosed shoes
- Behave with civility and propriety towards any intending passengers, passengers, other bus drivers and authorised officers
- Allow assistance animals or animals in training in their vehicle
- Deliver lost property to its owner, your operator or a police station
- Hand over driver licence and driver authority card to authorised officer when requested to do so.
Under the Passenger Transport Act 1990, authorities of public passenger drivers may be suspended pending investigation of unacceptable conduct.
Inappropriate use of a mobile phone by a driver of a public passenger vehicle is considered unacceptable conduct.
Behaviour placing passengers at risk
Under the NSW Road Rules, while a vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked), a driver may only use a mobile phone to make or receive a call or use the audio playing function:
- If the mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting; or
- If not in a mounting, use of the mobile phone must not require a driver to touch or manipulate the phone in any way.
All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited.
The law makes it clear that a driver in a moving or stationary vehicle (unless parked) MUST NOT HOLD a phone in their hand other than to pass the phone to a passenger, or use a mobile phone on loud speaker while resting it on their lap.
The use of mobile phones when driving has great effect on road safety:
- Driver reaction times are significantly slower
- Drivers are less able to maintain a constant speed and safe distance and to keep in lane
- Drivers display an inability to recognise hazards on the road
- Drivers display significant visual distraction and miss more road warning signs.
Disciplinary action for unacceptable conduct
The use of a mobile phone while driving a public passenger vehicle is considered a serious breach of safety which may merit suspension or possible cancellation of a driver authority.
Driver and operator reporting
If a public passenger vehicle driver is penalised or charged by police for using a mobile phone in contravention of NSW Road Rules while driving a public passenger vehicle:
- The driver must advise the relevant accredited operator of the public passenger vehicle, who must advise Roads and Maritime
- If the driver is also the operator of the vehicle, he/she must advise Roads and Maritime with details of the charge or penalty notice issued
- Roads and Maritime will ascertain the circumstances of the offence from police
- Following advice from police, Roads and Maritime will issue a letter noting the offence and a warning that a second offence will result in immediate suspension of the driver’s driver authority and possible cancellation.
For a second such offence (within a five-year period), the driver must advise the relevant accredited operator of the public passenger vehicle, who must advise Roads and Maritime. At this point:
- A ‘Notice to Show Cause’ as to why the driver’s Driver Authority should not be cancelled will be issued, together with a letter to the relevant accredited operator
- In the meantime, Roads and Maritime will ascertain the circumstances of the offence from police
- Following advice from police and the response to the Notice, Roads and Maritime will determine whether to lift the suspension or cancel the authority.
If operators penalise their drivers for using mobile phones while driving, the operator should also report the incident to Roads and Maritime. A letter will be issued to the driver noting the offence or a ‘Notice to Show Cause’, after the first or second offence, respectively.
Driver is the subject of an investigation
Under the Passenger Transport Act 1990, it is not necessary to refer to other legal proceedings in order to determine action regarding suspension of a driver authority. Should reports be received of unacceptable behaviour by a public passenger vehicle driver these will be investigated.
If the investigating officer is satisfied that the event complained of did occur, this is sufficient to take further action.
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