The Texas trucking industry is highly regulated. Safety measures used by the trucking industry have improved greatly in recent years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Texas Transportation Code are the starting points for much of the 18 wheeler accident litigation that takes place here in our Texas courts. As insurance defense lawyers who defend trucking accident cases on behalf of insurance companies and trucking companies, we have seen numerous attempts by Plaintiffs lawyers to utilize many of the regulations below in an attempt to establish the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company or both. The breadth of these regulations is large and beyond the broad scope of the entire list of regulations that apply to the trucking industry in general, however some of the key items that trucking companies must be aware of are below:
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS:
PART 382 – Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing –Describes how and when a truck driver should be tested for illegal substances before during and after an accident involving a commercial vehicle.
PART 383 – Commercial Driver’s License Standards – Determines if the driver of a commercial vehicle was qualified to operate the vehicle in use at the time of the accident.
PART 387 – Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers – Establishes the amount and nature of insurance requirements
PART 399 – Employee Safety and Health Standards – Determines if safety and health precautions were taken by the truck driver and the trucking company to keep the roads safe.
PART 397 – Transportation of Hazardous Materials – Determines if any other health risks to the public at large as well as the injured party are present .
TEXAS TRANSPORTATION CODE:
644.152 and 644.052 – Safety Standards – Outlines the safety requirements that must be followed when using a commercial vehicle.
522.101-106 – Alcohol and Drug Use – Describes the methods used to insure that truck drivers are not intoxicated while traveling the roadways in Texas.
545.062 – Following Distance – Following too closely is frequently an alleged contributing cause to a collision and is the subject of a great deal of litigation. It is usually fairly argued by Plaintiffs’ lawyers that 18 wheelers in particular are more difficult to maneuver than automobiles. Great care should be taken by our trucking company clients to train their drivers thoroughly regarding safe stopping and safe following distances.
545.351 – Maximum Speed Requirement – this section is one that Plaintiff attorneys use often to try to prove that a collision was caused by a speeding tractor trailer rig driver. The truth is that frequently it is the cars and other vehicles around our drivers that present the greater danger to the public roads. Most trucking companies, and certainly the ones we represent, do not tolerate speeding by their drivers. Again, the utmost effort should be taken by our trucking company clients to train their drivers thoroughly regarding safe stopping and safe following distances.
550.023 – Duty to Give Information and Render Aid – A person who was involved in an accident should not leave the scene of the accident without offering assistance. Although this seems obvious, it is also the law, and there can be serious consequences in trucking accident litigation cases in Texas for failure to stick around, post-accident.
Our trucking company defense law firm in Fort Worth is familiar with the laws and statutes that affect our truck driver clients, and we will be happy to assist your trucking company with safety training and guidance, with an eye towards accident prevention as well as lawsuit prevention.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Fort Worth, Texas trucking defense attorneys in Tarrant County who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.