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TX truckers get temporary relief from HOS regs

HOS and truckers

Truckers, a key to the economy of Texas, also are playing the role of heroes these days. The federal government has waived certain regulations so truckers can more easily deliver much-needed supplies after a mid-February winter storm crippled much of the state. That action comes with risk, however.

The upside: Truckers to the rescue

The winter storm posed a serious threat to the lives of millions of Texans. Without electricity and with natural gas in short supply, residents faced the loss of heat during uncommonly frigid temperatures. Icy road conditions made the delivery of essential goods dangerous, if not impossible. Retailers, grocers, and pharmacies were forced to close their doors, cutting Texans off from food, medication, and other necessities.

Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stepped in to modify hours-of-service requirements for commercial motor vehicle drivers delivering “direct assistance” to Texans struggling with the impact of the historic storm. The order suspends limits on driving time and rest period requirements. With fewer restrictions on their hours, truckers have more time to deliver fuel (such as propane, natural gas, and heating oil), and fuel products (gasoline), as well as to transport people, supplies, goods, and equipment.

The downside: Tired truckers are dangerous

In the best of times, however, some truckers do not practice safe driving and cause devastating truck accidents. Chief among the concerns are truckers who drive while fatigued. Under normal circumstances, truckers are rushing to meet deadlines that are sometimes unrealistic. Add a lack of sleep and they are not in prime condition to be driving fully loaded rigs on the state’s roads and highways. The threat is even greater during the suspension of hours-of-service requirements.

Of course, truckers remain subject to the rules of the road. These include testing for alcohol and controlled substances, commercial driver’s license requirements, insurance and financial responsibility requirements, hazardous materials regulations, and size and weight requirements.

Your side: Protect yourself

When an 80,000-pound big rig collides with your 4,000-pound car, you are in serious trouble. You can suffer major injuries that force you to miss an extended period of work. That means you cannot support your family while you recover. The injuries could leave you disabled for life. In fighting for your rights, you are opposed by a trucking company that is not going to admit the driver was overtired and accept responsibility for the accident. In fact, they will probably blame you. Their insurance company, knowing you are financially desperate, will pressure you into accepting a settlement that comes nowhere near covering your current and future expenses. Where do you turn?

The truck accident attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm in San Antonio have been protecting the interests of clients just like you since 1983. We know how the local legal system works. More importantly, we know how to stand up to trucking and insurance companies. We can put our expertise to work in obtaining justice and a fair financial settlement for you and your family. Contact us today for a free case consultation.

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