Truck Accident Attorneys in Houston
Houston is a hub of trucking activity for many different industries. With the Port of Houston and the fastest-growing population in the United States, the trucking industry is thriving in the state of Texas. Truck companies usually pay by the mile, so truck drivers have an incentive to deliver the load as quickly as they possibly can. Unfortunately, this part of the trucking industry can encourage excessive hours and other unsafe activities.
Federal law has established the minimum levels of safe conduct expected from 18 wheeler drivers and motor carriers.
The hours of service regulations for commercial drivers specify the time a truck driver can actually be behind the wheel.
- 14-hour duty limit (minimum 10 hours of rest after 14 hours on duty)
- 11 hour driving limit (minimum 10 hours rest after 11 total driving hours)
- 60/70-hour duty limit
Professional drivers often feel pressured to deliver the load as quickly as possible either to benefit financially or to appease the company. Driver fatigue can easily occur for truck drivers to follow the rules, and is almost a given for those who do not follow the safety regulations. It is critically important that the truck accident law firm you select have substantial experience in investigating driver fatigue and violations of the federal regulations.
Important evidence after a serious truck accident can include:
- Black box or computer event data
- Documents evidencing the load and prior deliveries
- Inspection of the tractor-trailer
- Inspection of the accident scene
- Poor Training
Many 18 wheeler drivers have a commercial drivers license and are simply turned loose on the highways to deliver their loads. At the Baumgartner Law Firm we believe that simply having a CDL is insufficient safety training for a commercial driver operating a vehicle that can weigh 80,000 pounds. Motor carriers have a duty to ensure that their drivers are properly trained and able to safely operate the big rigs. Ongoing safety training should be a part of all motor carriers operations.
Trucking companies also must ensure that the trucks on the highway or in safe and proper operating condition. Drivers must inspect their tractor-trailers every day and also inspect their loads to ensure that they are properly secured. Further, the federal regulations require truck drivers to inspect the truck prior to beginning any trip. The truck driver must inspect:
- Air Lines and compressor
- Fuel system
- Safety equipment
- Coupling devices
- Wheels and tires
- Numerous other equipment
At the end of the trip the commercial or professional driver must then re-examine each of the items covered in their driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports. All dangerous conditions or defects must be noted in such reports and reported to the motor carrier prior to taking the big rig out on another trip. An inspection after a serious injury or fatal truck accident can be an important part of an 18 wheeler accident lawsuit by a Houston truck accident lawyer.
Early Investigation Required
One cannot overstate the importance of an early investigation by a truck accident lawyer in Houston, after a truck accident. The condition of the big rig, the accident scene, authority’s findings in the investigation and compliance with the federal regulations all should be investigated as early as possible after an accident. It is important that the truck accident lawyer you select has vast experience in truck accident litigation. The Baumgartner Law Firm has been handling high-profile truck accident cases for over 30 years.