A crash on the afternoon of December 19 caused a fairly significant problem on Loop 1604 in San Antonio, between Stone Oak and Highway 281 - a utility truck was involved in an accident, which then caused it to leak a substantial amount of fuel onto the roadway. While ultimately, no injuries were reported, these types of crashes can be dangerous, and they can also pose complex questions about just who is liable if injuries or fatalities do occur.
Utility Trucks Occupy Unusual Legal Ground
Trucks are grouped under the law by their weight, in most situations. Pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are regulated the same way as automobiles. 18-wheelers and other big rigs are usually overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other authorities that can competently regulate commercial trucking and its nitty-gritty details. Utility trucks very often wind up in the middle, both in terms of weight and in terms of the regulations imposed upon them, and it is because they can differ significantly in terms of size and weight within that classification.
Texas has very few regulations that apply specifically to utility trucks, but many of the most common tend to be treated as pickup trucks - for example, communications companies and landscaping businesses use utility trucks which are retrofitted pickups. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that while they may be the same size as a personal or private vehicle, they are invariably treated as commercial vehicles. This may put their employers on the proverbial hook....