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What are the Laws Governing Commercial Trucks?

Laws governing commercial trucks.


Commercial trucks are a common sight on our Texas roadways. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than 130 million commercial trucks on our roadways and Texas is one of the states with the most trucks. Safety on our roads is a major concern. Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow the laws and regulations that are in place to ensure safety and help protect the public from harm.

FMCSA Regulations for 18-Wheelers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides rules and regulations that must be followed by drivers and owners of 18-wheelers.

  • Driving Limit of 11 Hours: Commercial big-rig drivers are limited to the number of hours they can drive consecutively and in a 24-hour period. Drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours and only after 10 hours of consecutive off-duty hours.
  • Limit of 14 Driving Hours per Day: Drivers are also limited to a total of 14 hours behind the wheel in any 24-hour period. Drivers are not allowed to work more than 14 hours per day, including both driving and non-driving activities. Drivers must also be given 10 consecutive off-duty hours per shift.
  • Required Breaks: Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after eight hours worked. Breaks must be off-duty. This means that the driver can not be participating in any work-related activity and must be off-duty for the break.
  • Weekly Driving Limits: Drivers cannot work more than 60 hours in a work week or more than 70 hours of duty in an eight-day period.


There are many additional laws in place that detail mechanical maintenance, load securement, and transportation of hazardous materials. Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for following the laws. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs, they could be considered negligent.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Many truck accidents are caused by the negligent actions of the driver or company. Some of the most common problems are driver fatigue and driver distraction. Although drivers are required to take breaks and to drive only for specific periods of time, the rules are not always followed. Drivers may try to earn more money by taking an extra shift or trying to drive further than allowed in a day.

When a truck accident happens, it is often in your best interest to seek legal guidance from a reputable Houston truck accident attorney. Your lawyer will take the steps necessary to protect important evidence in the case. For example, driver logs may show that the driver broke the law and drove for too many hours. However, trucking companies may lose some of this data if your lawyer does not take quick action.

Laws are in place to govern trucks and protect the public. If the driver or the trucking company failed to follow the law, they are likely negligent in the accident. You may be owed compensation for your injuries and damages.

Contact our experienced Houston truck accident law firm today to discuss the details of your accident. Call 281-893-0760


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About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.