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New Braunfels truck accident attorneyDrunk driving is a serious problem in Texas. Not only does Texas have the largest number of fatal accidents involving alcohol intoxication, but alcohol also accounts for an outsized percentage of fatal accidents in Texas compared to most other states. All drunk drivers can be a severe danger to themselves and others on the road, but intoxicated truck drivers are capable of causing especially dangerous accidents and severe injuries.

Deterrents Against Truck Driver Intoxication

Commercial truck drivers are subject to strict laws and regulations regarding alcohol and drug use, both at a federal level and within the state of Texas. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to administer drug and alcohol tests for their drivers under a variety of circumstances, including before hiring, after an accident, and when there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication.

Additionally, under Texas state law, the driver of a commercial truck can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and lose their commercial driver’s license for at least a year if they are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.04 or any amount of controlled substance in their body while operating a commercial vehicle. However, despite these deterrents, intoxicated drivers are still the source of many truck accidents in Texas.

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TX injury lawyerAfter a 2018 accident in which a mother and daughter lost their lives on the way home from Austin City Limits, their surviving family members are petitioning for a law that would require 18-wheelers and other large trucks to take measures to increase their visibility. The family feels that this law could prevent similar collisions to the one that affected them, which involved a tanker truck at night. If passed, this law could give drivers injured in truck accidents another option for claiming negligence and pursuing compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Federal Regulations for Big-Rig Truck Drivers

Current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations specify standards for headlights, taillights, brake lights, and reflectors depending on the type of commercial motor vehicle, and they also require that these lights be operable and unobstructed at all times. If an accident occurs because a truck does not follow these regulations, the driver and his or her employer may share responsibility for failing to install the proper equipment and inspect it to make sure it is working.

The Austin family mentioned above seeks to expand these regulations by adding more lights to the sides of large trucks and requiring they be painted with light colors. Their goal is to reach 10,000 signatures on the petition and send it to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If they are successful, trucks throughout the United States could be required to update their equipment after legislation passes.

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TX accident lawyerThe life of a commercial trucker is quite difficult, requiring long hours on the road and in many cases, low rewards. Sometimes, individual drivers or their superiors may drive beyond the hours required, or otherwise try to push the limits of what is acceptable, and accidents can result. While truck drivers are certainly not always responsible for trucking-related crashes, fatigue can play an outsized role in many, not least of all because many truck drivers do not notice it until it is too late.

Employees and Employers

The average driver may think that fatigue on the road is no big deal, given how many drivers may not be at their peak when operating a motor vehicle. However, large trucks have two to three times the weight of an average automobile, and that much weight at speed causes significantly more damage than an automobile does when it connects with a solid object. Fatigue contributes to slower reaction times and to impaired perception that may not even notice another vehicle if visibility is low.

Truck drivers deserve rest and recuperation time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published what are called Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that commercial truck drivers are required to follow, so as to try and cut down on danger to both the drivers and to other motorists on the road. FMCSA statistics estimate that roughly 15 percent of truck crashes, particularly in the nighttime hours, were at least partially caused by driver fatigue or lack of sleep. In addition, the law requires that drivers log their hours, but many routinely try to fudge the numbers so as to drive longer and deliver orders more quickly.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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