For most of us, driving is a normal part of everyday life, and we spend a lot of time driving. Due to the distances between the major cities in Texas and throughout the U.S., we often spend long hours in our cars and trucks. Because of our comfort level with driving, we forget how dangerous an activity it is. Car and truck accidents occur frequently in the U.S. In fact, in 2010, more than 80,000 people were injured and more than 3,000 killed in car accidents in Texas. This is an average of one person killed every three hours or less in Texas. Other heavily populated states don’t fare any better.

Some of the main causes of serious auto accidents include:

  • Lack of Adequate Safety Training: Commercial trucks (e.g. 18 wheelers) are great in size and weight. The rules of the road, like proper following distance, apply differently to commercial vehicles than other vehicles. The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration helps establish rules that must be complied with by drivers and carriers. Often, however, lack of training and greed cause a lapse in rule following that results in a collision.

  • Driver’s fatigue: Especially true for trucking accidents, often times driver fatigue due to driving for too many hours is to blame for a collision. As of July 1, 2013, the Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule sets the following:

    • Limit the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours;

    • Allow truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most – from 1-5 a.m., and;

    • Require truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

  • Drunk-driving accidents: More than one-third of all 2010 traffic deaths in Texas involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, the most common single cause of traffic deaths in the state by a significant margin. Young drivers between 21 and 25 are the most common demographic for drunk-driving accidents.

  • Distracted driving accidents: Driver inattention led to more than 11,000 accidents involving serious injuries in Texas in 2010. Distracted driving can occur due to use of cell phones, texting while driving, electronics, other passengers, etc.

  • Reckless driving accidents: Speeding and road rage — which comprise only two of many types of reckless driving — combined to total more than 6,000 serious injury accidents and nearly 700 fatal accidents in Texas in 2010.

As of July 1, 2013, the Hours of Service Regulations for Commercial Drivers requires the following:

PROPERTY-CARRYING DRIVERS PASSENGER-CARRYING DRIVERS
11-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
10-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
14-Hour Limit
May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
15-Hour Limit
May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
Rest Breaks
May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]
60/70-Hour Limit
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
60/70-Hour Limit
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Highway accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • T-bone accidents
  • Drunk-driving accidents
  • Distracted driver accidents
  • Reckless driving accidents
  • Accidents caused by road/highway design

We Believe: We believe in this litigation, and we believe you.

We Fight: Litigation against the individual, company, and insurance industry over a trucking or motor vehicle collision case is extremely challenging and adversarial. Gilde Law Firm knows how to fight for your interests.

We Win: We will work to obtain full and fair compensation for the illnesses, injuries, and property damages you have suffered as a result of careless and reckless driving and safety compliance.

Contact an experienced Trucking Lawyer, 18 Wheeler Lawyer, Large Truck Lawyer, Commercial Vehicle Lawyer, and Motor Vehicle Injury Lawyer. Time is of the essence. Don’t delay – contact us today.