The trucking industry is a vital part of the nation’s economy, and in Texas, countless truckers serve us each day. With so many trucks on the road, accidents are inevitable. Unfortunately, these accidents are often much more dangerous compared to a regular car collision. This is because truckers are bigger, heavier, and less agile than a typical sedan or even a pick-up truck. These 18-wheelers still travel at high speeds, making potential collisions a serious safety concern on Houston’s roads and highways.
Are there unique rules that truckers must follow in Texas? What kinds of regulations do you need to be aware of if you drive a truck for a living? If you have been involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler in Houston, what kinds of steps should you take? All of these questions and many others can be answered by a qualified, experienced truck accident attorney in Houston. These legal experts can guide you through the next stage, whether you were driving a truck at the time of the accident or you were struck by one. Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney is your best bet if you want to strive for a positive legal outcome.
Regulations for 18-Wheelers in Texas
There are a number of key regulations that truckers must follow in the Lone Star State. A motor carrier must keep a file for each driver. This file must include the following:
- Copy of employment application
- A detailed record of their driving record
- Road test results
- Results from a doctor’s exam
- Annual review information
In addition, there are strict rules when it comes to how long a driver can be on the road before taking breaks:
- After taking a 10-hour break, drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours straight
- After coming on duty for the first time, drivers cannot drive for more than 14 hours straight
- Drivers can only drive for 60 out of 70 hours in seven out of eight days (the 60/70 rule)
- Drivers cannot drive for more than 8 hours before taking a break of at least 30 minutes
The above rules have caused a bit of controversy. Back in the mid-90s, Congress attempted to crack down on truck drivers, imposing stricter regulations in an attempt to improve public safety. When the Federal Highway Administration refused to adopt rules, the FMCSA was created by the Clinton Administration.
In 2000, this organization introduced electronic monitoring systems to ensure drivers were accurately logging their hours and taking breaks at the right times. However, by 2003 the organization appeared to take a step back, and it actually increased the amount of time a trucker could drive without taking a break.
Why These Rules are Important
When a trucker breaks these rules, it is a clear sign of negligence. Establishing negligence is very important if you want to receive a fair, adequate settlement in a personal injury claim.