Truck accidents are some of the most serious on the road today. If you are involved in a truck accident, it may result in severe and even catastrophic injuries and damages.
If you are involved in a truck accident in Texas, you have rights. In fact, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Our Texas truck accident lawyers at Burkett Law Firm are ready to help with your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
It’s also important to know the truck laws in place in the state of Texas. Keep reading to learn more.
Federal Laws That Apply to Texas Truck Drivers
It’s required that commercial truck drivers in Texas (and across the U.S.) follow set regulations based on federal law. The regulating organization for all commercial truck drivers and companies is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This organization falls under the further authority of the United States Department of Transportation, which has established the regulations and rules that commercial trucks (and other commercial vehicles) must follow.
Note: Trucks that work intrastate often have different rules than truck drivers traveling from one state to another.
Rules and Regulations Established by the FMCSA
Several regulations established by the FMCSA are created to help ensure public safety and protect other drivers on the road. Some of the most important regulations to note for truck drivers are highlighted here.
Truck Driver Qualifications
Some specific standards and expectations must be met before drivers can operate a commercial truck. For example, drivers must be at least 21 years old and have a valid CDL (commercial driver’s license). They also must understand and speak conversational English.
Hours of Service Restrictions
Commercial truck drivers must obey the set duty hours or the hours of service related to FMCSA regulations. These regulations include:
- Drivers must take 10 consecutive hours off driving before starting a new shift.
- Once 10 hours have passed, a driver can only be on duty for 14 consecutive hours. (This time includes any ancillary duty.)
- In the 14 hours of being on duty, drivers can only spend 11 of those driving.
- After eight consecutive hours of driving, a 30-minute break is required.
- Drivers are not permitted to be on duty for over 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. The seven and eight-day stretch is restarted after a driver takes 34 consecutive hours off from being on duty.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
It’s illegal for all motorists to operate a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While this is true, average drivers (those who operate passenger vehicles) are not subject to random drug testing – commercial truck drivers are.
Based on the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, which was created in 1991, all employees working in the transportation industry must undergo alcohol and drug testing to help reduce total accidents related to these conditions. If a truck driver refuses the required testing, then they can be removed from all driving activities according to federal law.
Truck Drivers and Mobile Device Use
In 2017, the state of Texas passed a texting ban. The FMSCA had banned the use of mobile phones for all commercial drivers before this law went into effect. If a driver has a CDL license, they are prohibited from texting, emailing, using navigation systems, or any other type of handheld device while driving. This applies to any situation.
Commercial Truck Maintenance
If a commercial truck is not properly maintained, it may cause serious and deadly truck accidents. It’s required that a truck owner or operator check specific systems at least one time every 90 days. It’s also required that all maintenance checks be recorded in a log that is presented to authorities upon request.
Get in Touch with Texas Truck Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Case
You have rights if you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck in Texas. It’s smart to get in touch with Texas truck accident lawyers from Burkett Law Firm to understand and protect your rights. The first step is to call our offices and schedule a free initial consultation.