Understanding Hours of Service Exemptions and Trucking Accidents in Texas2019-12-30T19:17:28+00:00

The Cooper Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in Texas that helps individuals seek damages following truck crashes involving big rigs, oil rigs, and other trucks. In order to seek damages for a truck accident, victims must show that the truck driver or company was responsible for the accident. One way that the truck company or driver might be held accountable is if the driver was in violation of hours of service laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates how long a truck driver can drive in a given day or week. These laws are put in place to protect the safety of the truck driver and the general public. Fatigued driving is dangerous driving. Hours of service laws regulate how long a driver can be on the road before taking a break. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident in Texas, the Cooper Law Firm can review the truck driver’s logs, hours of service, shipping and delivery schedules, and other information to determine if the driver was in violation of federal hours of service laws. If a driver was in violation of the law, you and your family might have the right to pursue compensation for your losses.

However, sometimes drivers are granted certain exemptions to the hours of service laws. These exemptions allow drivers to extend their hours of service in certain situations. What are these situations?

Bad Weather Hours of Service Exemption

If bad weather causes delays, truck drivers may be permitted to extend their hours of service by an additional two hours. This gives drivers the opportunity to find a place to rest or pull over, and also grants drivers some flexibility should poor weather or traffic be encountered. However, drivers are still limited to a strict 14 hour workday and drivers cannot just drive for longer periods of time because of poor weather. The driver must show that poor weather interfered with a reasonable schedule that would have otherwise permitted the driver to reach his or he destination or terminal within 11 hours. Were you injured in an accident involving a truck driving in poor weather? Were you hurt in a truck accident and suspect that fatigue may have played a role? The truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm in Texas can review the situation and determine whether the driver was able to operate his truck under certain exemptions.

Oilfield Worker Hours of Service Exemptions

Workers in the oil industry are also granted certain exemptions to hours of service laws, but only if the truck being used can only be used on the oil and gas field. If the truck is being used exclusively on the oil and gas field, truck drivers may be able to log their wait time as off-duty time, may be able to start working after a 24 hour break instead of the 36-hour requirement for most commercial drivers, and may have more flexibility with when they can take breaks. For example, drivers can potentially combine two five-hour breaks to meet the 10-hour break requirement, but only if they drive a qualifying oilfield vehicle. These exemptions shouldn’t impact the general public, because these trucks generally aren’t operated on public roads. But if a truck company tries to use the exemptions for trucks that are operated on public roads, or if the trucks need to use public roads when traveling between worksites, the general public can potentially be impacted. Furthermore, if drivers are fatigued, they could be a risk to themselves or to their coworkers, so truck companies have an obligation and an incentive to make sure that drivers’ schedules are reasonable and safe.

Were you hurt in an oilfield truck accident in Texas? Do you have questions about whether hours of service laws may apply to your case or may be able to assist you in your claim? The Cooper Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in Texas that may be able to assist you today. Many oilfield workers might be covered by worker’s compensation. But if you are a contractor, or if you are not covered because of an exemption, you may have the right to make a personal injury claim to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Seek Justice Today

Have a question about your rights after a truck accident? Have questions about whether hours of service law violations may apply in your case. The Cooper Law Firm is a Texas truck accident law firm that may be able to investigate your case and help you seek damages to cover your losses. Contact us today to learn more or reach out to USAttorneys.com to get connected with our truck accident lawyers today.

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