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Houston Truck Accidents and Hours of Service Laws

Houston Truck Accidents

Many Texas and Houston Truck Accidents are caused by drivers and companies that have violated hours of service laws.  Truck drivers and companies must follow federal and state laws that limit the amount of time a commercial driver can operate a truck each day as well as the number of consecutive hours that may be logged without taking rest breaks. These laws are crucial to ensuring that truck drivers are not overly fatigued while on the road, and it helps promote the safe operation of commercial trucks while protecting the public from potential accidents caused by exhaustion.

Federal Laws

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency that is responsible for regulating the hours of service laws for truck drivers in the United States.  Click here for a summary of the driving rules. The FMCSA has established a set of hours-of-service rules that apply to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who operate in interstate commerce, which means that they transport goods or passengers across state lines. These rules are designed to ensure that truck drivers get adequate rest and do not drive for too many consecutive hours without taking a break.

There are several key components of the FMCSA’s hours of service rules that are designed to help prevent truck driver fatigue:

Daily Driving Limit: Truck drivers are generally limited to driving a maximum of 11 hours per day, after which they must take a break of at least 10 consecutive hours.

Weekly driving limit: Truck drivers are generally limited to driving a maximum of 60 hours in a 7-day period, or 70 hours in an 8-day period. After reaching the maximum driving limit for the week, truck drivers must take a break of at least 34 consecutive hours before starting a new weekly driving period.

Rest breaks: Truck drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for 8 consecutive hours. This break must be taken within the first 8 hours of starting a driving shift.

Restart periods: Truck drivers are allowed to use a “restart” period of at least 34 consecutive hours to reset their weekly driving limit. However, this restart period must include at least two periods that fall between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

There are some exceptions to the FMCSA’s hours of service rules for certain types of truck drivers and driving situations. For example, short-haul drivers who operate within a 100-mile radius of their home base and return home every day are generally allowed to drive up to 12 hours per day and are not required to take a 10-hour break between shifts.

In addition to the FMCSA’s hours of service rules, many states have their own laws that regulate the number of hours that truck drivers can work. These state laws may be more or less strict than the federal rules, depending on the specific state.

It’s important to note that the hours of service laws are intended to improve safety on the roads by reducing the risk of accidents caused by tired or fatigued truck drivers. These laws are not intended to limit the productivity of truck drivers or the trucking industry as a whole. By following the hours of service rules, truck drivers can help ensure that they are well-rested and able to operate their vehicles safely, which can ultimately lead to fewer truck accidents on the roads.


Houston Truck Accidents On The Freeways

Texas Hours Of Service Rules

Rules for Intrastate Drivers

Drivers that drive only in Texas and do not leave State lines have to follow the Texas rules for Hours of Service.  First, Texas drivers must have eight consecutive hours off before they start a shift. After a driver is off for eight hours and returns, they can only remain on duty for 15 straight hours.

Texas law requires intrastate drivers only drive for up to 12 consecutive hours maximum. Over a seven-day period, a driver may be on duty for only 70 hours. After 34 hours of being off duty, the seven-day period starts again, and the driver may work up to another 70 hours a week. Many violations are discovered only after a lawsuit is filed.  At Molina Law Firm, we investigate all driving records and company records to determine all violations of the hours of service regulations. 

Trucks Hauling Cargo

If a driver is hauling cargo, the driver has an 11-hour driving limit after having 10 consecutive hours off when they’re hauling cargo.

The also law states that a driver hauling cargo may not be on duty beyond the 14th straight hour after their shift begins. Before that shift, a truck driver must have at least 10 consecutive hours off.

Vehicles Hauling Passengers

Trucks and vehicles that carry passengers have more restrictions.  The driver may drive for only 10 consecutive hours after being off for at least eight hours.  Those hauling passengers can’t drive after they’ve been on duty for 15 hours.

Truck and vehicle drivers that carry passengers must work for only 15 hours at a time.  Before those 15 hours, the driver must have at least 10 hours off duty.

Truck Driver–Driving Log Requirements

All drivers following FMCSA regulations must keep an accurate log of their driving times.  Texas also has log requirements.

Rules for Truckers Driving in Texas (intrastate)

Texas laws for intrastate driving are more lenient than federal laws. The Texas rules can be found in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).   For example, in Texas, truck drivers are allowed to drive for 12 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.   Also, a motor carrier must not permit or require a driver to drive after being on duty 70 total duty hours in seven days. A driver may restart a 7 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.

If a trucker or carrier violates the law, the trucking company can receive a fine based on the misconduct.

In an accident case, the truck driver and the motor carrier may be responsible for negligence and its consequences.  If an hour or service law is violated, this is usually an issue that requires carful analysis of many documents.


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