Texas Trucking Laws

Large commercial vehicles, especially trucks, semis, and 18-wheelers, often present serious hazards on Texas roadways. For this reason, they’re highly regulated by state and federal law. These vehicles tend to cause some of the most devastating collisions because time is money in trucking. Drivers are often under pressure to meet deadlines, in addition to enduring long and grueling work hours.

What Does Texas Law Consider a Large Vehicle?

Larger vehicles are subject to strict safety regulations enacted by the U.S. government and individual states. These regulations protect the public against negligent and untrained truck drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) apply to vehicles that:

  • Engage in interstate commerce
  • Weigh more than 10,000 pounds
  • Transport hazardous materials
  • Carry at least eight people

However, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to commercial vehicles that:

  • Engage in in-state commerce
  • Deliver goods within the state
  • Weigh 26,000 pounds or more
  • Involve a farm vehicle weighing 48,000 pounds or more
  • Carry more than 15 people
  • Transport hazardous fluids or materials

What Trucking Documents Are Required?

Commercial Trucking Companies in Texas

Commercial trucking companies in Texas are required by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to have:

  • minimum liability insurance coverage for each registered vehicle, as well as
  • insurance coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration.

Truck Drivers in Texas

In addition to vehicle protection, drivers should also be insured in the event of an accident.

  • If the driver is an employee, he/she should ideally be covered by the trucking company’s insurance policy.
  • Independent contractors must have a primary liability policy, along with commercial liability insurance coverage.

Trucking Companies in Texas

Depending on the insurance policy, a trucking company must also cover areas such as non-trucking liability, cargo insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, physical damage, accident coverage, rental reimbursement, and more.

What Documents Does a Truck Driver Need?

Truck drivers are responsible for transporting over 70% of merchandise in the United States. In order to become a commercial driver, the first requirement is to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), followed by a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In addition, the following requirements must be met:

  • Be at least 18 years old to drive within state and 21 years old to drive across state lines.
  • A clean driving record
  • Proof of state residency
  • A social security number
  • Proof of insurance coverage
  • Pass periodic drug tests and medical examinations.
  • Pass a background check

There are three classes of Commercial Driver’s Licenses: Class A, B or C. The type of license you choose will depend largely on the type of work you plan to do as a commercial vehicle operator.

  • Class A: Class A gives you access to many types of commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers and flatbeds. This type of license is considered the most comprehensive option.
  • Class B: Class B operators drive school buses and public transportation vehicles.
  • Class C: Any single vehicle weighing less than 26,001 pounds is included in Group C, or any vehicle towing another vehicle that doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds.

Trucking Laws and Regulations

Federal Trucking Laws

Truck drivers are governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), which set the standard of care for drivers in the state of Texas.

The FMCSRs were written specifically to regulate the nationwide standard of care for trucking companies and the operation of commercial trucks. These regulations are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as well as state law enforcement. Its mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

The regulations can be quite specific, but many establish general guidelines for the safe and professional operation of commercial trucks. Some of the guidelines in the FMCSR include the following topics:

  • Avoiding truck driver fatigue
  • Driving defensively
  • Avoiding rear-end collisions
  • Making proper left turns
  • Preventing cargo from shifting in transit

Texas Trucking Laws

Texas regulations apply to aspects of trucking, such as commercial fleet registration, size and weight limits on Texas roadways, permits for oversized and overweight loads, and restrictions for moving large or super-heavy loads within the state. Texas has also incorporated nearly all of the FMCSA regulations for commercial trucking operations within the state.

Texas also establishes traffic rules and regulations on how vehicles may operate on the state’s roads and highways. In addition, it handles the issuing of commercial driver’s licenses to truck drivers who reside or work in the state.

If you’re injured in a truck accident, consult an experienced Trujillo Sanchez truck accident lawyer. At the Law Offices of Trujillo Sanchez, truck accident attorneys will help you with your claim. Call (972) 529-3476 for a free consultation today.

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