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How truck laws impact Texas residents

Those who drive or operate commercial trucks are regulated by both federal and state agencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are the two primary federal regulatory bodies, while each state has its own regulatory body. To operate a large truck, a driver must have a commercial license in compliance with his or her state's commercial driving laws.

In addition to being licensed, a driver is also limited to how many hours of service he or she can perform without taking a break. Each state regulates how and when such breaks must be taken. In addition to requirements for drivers, there are standards related to how trucks are loaded and maintained. For instance, a single-axle truck cannot be heavier than 20,000 pounds while a double-axle truck can safely carry up to 34,000 pounds.

Federal law requires that air-brake systems in large trucks be properly constructed and maintained. If the air-brake system or any other part of the truck is defective and causes a collision, the manufacturer or supplier of that part may be held liable in court. Those who are hurt in an accident with a commercial truck may be able to prove negligence automatically if they can show that a truck driver broke any applicable laws.

Those who are injured in a trucking accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This may be true if it can be established the accident was the result of driver negligence. If this is the case, it may be possible to consult with a lawyer who may be able to help a client win an award to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and lost future earnings. It may also be possible for family members to win compensation for loss of consortium or affection either through a settlement or formal trial.

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