Texas – December 30, 2020

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial truck crashes differ from other crashes because:

  • They are more likely to cause lane closings, where an overturned, or jackknifed tractor trailer may block more lanes than a passenger vehicle, sometimes resulting in secondary crashes.
  • Truck crashes close down roadways longer than other motor vehicle crashes due to cargo spills and other hazardous materials that can take longer to clear off the roadway.
  • Driving patterns during periods of roadway density can be more dangerous if a truck driver is fatigued after all night driving and hits roadways with congestion in the morning rush hours.

The primary mission of the FMCSA is to address causes of crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue is one of the biggest factors in truck accidents. Operating an oversized vehicle, while fatigued creates deadly risks to all travelers and the reason that the federal laws outline “hours of service” for truck drivers. When truck accidents occur and personal injury results, an attorney experienced with trucking regulations can assist victims.

Hours of service.

Hours of services regulations for truck drivers can be used to support driver negligence when breaches to FMCSA Section 395.3 occur.  These federal regulations exist to ensure drivers get the rest they need, but many drivers violate the rules because of trucking company demands that are time-driven.  Some drivers may fall asleep while driving and others may take stimulants to stay awake which could impair their judgment and reaction time at the wheel of the big rig.  Experienced attorneys will utilize driver logbooks and truck satellite systems to prove negligence when drivers are not adhering to the “hours of sleep” laws.

Insurance coverage.

The United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, subpart A, assures insurance coverage in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility set forth in those regulations. Deviations from these rules may strengthen a truck accident attorney’s case for negligence based on driver fatigue. The state of Texas requires a tractor trailer truck to carry a much higher minimum liability insurance policy than a passenger vehicle to cover the extent of catastrophic damage costs. Economic and non-economic damage awards are based on degrees of fault in the State of Texas and the 51% rule is utilized to determine a settlement value.  A personal injury attorney can explain how the Texas “modified comparative negligence” rule will impact a case outcome.

Hire a lawyer.

A legal professional may help to mediate settlement amounts with insurance companies for damages caused by possible negligence of driver fatigue. Legal action may be the only way to remedy any loss to a victim of a trucking accident. Trucking accidents are complex and often require involved research by legal professionals at Cooper Law Firm.

Cooper Law Firm
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2222
Longview, TX 75606

Physical Address: 501 N Third St,
Longview, TX 75601

Telephone ; (903) 297-0037
Toll-Free: 1-855-297-HURT (4878)
Facsimile: (903) 236-0035

Sources:

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/law-enforcement/crash-records.html

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts

https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/auto-insurance.html

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.601.htm#601.051

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/SDocs/CIVILPRACTICEANDREMEDIESCODE.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/395.3