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Texas Trucking Laws & Regulations

Posted on July 31, 2022

Truck drivers in Texas are bound by numerous state and federal laws that dictate how these large and potentially dangerous vehicles should be operated. These regulations seek to ensure safety for everyone on the road. 

Texas Trucking Regulations

Truck drivers and trucking companies that operate within the state of Texas are bound by laws enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

Licensing Requirements

Truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) if their vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 lbs or more or must be placarded for transportation of hazardous materials. They must also meet specific requirements for obtaining it. For example, previous driving violations or a history of substance abuse can disqualify an individual from obtaining a license.

Maintenance Requirements

Trucking companies and drivers must perform regular inspection, repair, and maintenance to ensure the safe operation of all parts, accessories, and systems on the vehicle. 

Operating Requirements

Many regulations dictate what a driver can and cannot do on the road, regarding the legal limit of continuous driving hours, keeping an up-to-date log in the vehicle at all times, and tighter drug and alcohol limits. 

Financial Requirements

Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than drivers of passenger vehicles.

Federal Trucking Laws 

The following are some of the FMCA’s most critical regulations: 

  • A driver may only operate a truck for 11 hours after a 10-hour break.
  • After taking a 10-hour break, a truck driver may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours.
  • A truck driver can only work 60 in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in an 8-day period.
  • A driver can restart the seven to nine-day work week after having a minimum of 34 hours off.
  • Truck drivers cannot drive more than 8 hours after a previous rest break of at least 30 minutes or being off-duty. 
  • Trucks are only allowed on the road after being deemed safe by an annual FMCSA inspection.
  • Routine inspections and repairs must be performed to maintain the integrity of a truck.
  • Trucking companies must maintain a high amount of insurance coverage to match their higher level of financial responsibility in the event of an accident.
  • Truck drivers must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid commercial driver’s license, and be proficient in English.
  • Semi-trucks generally must travel at 55 mph or less, depending on the roadway conditions. That is 10 miles per hour below what most highways in the U.S. have posted for noncommercial vehicles.

Truck drivers and trucking companies who fail to follow Texas and/or federal regulations can be liable for any property damage or injuries that result from their negligence. 

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer 

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact our Waco truck accident lawyers. We will evaluate your case for free and help you understand how Texas or federal trucking law violations might apply to your claim.