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Oil Rigs and Truck Accidents – Why Do These Crashes Happen?

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Commercial trucking plays a crucial role in U.S. commerce, and the transportation of oil contributes significantly to the Texas economy.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for trucking companies to ensure that drivers and their employers adhere to safe practices. Unfortunately, oil companies are exempt from some safety regulations which allow oil service drivers to operate with less rest than other commercial truck drivers.

If you are the victim of a collision with a commercial vehicle, our lawyers can help you fight for the compensation that you need to cope with your injuries.

The experienced team at Tate Law Offices, P.C., have been fighting for injured people in Texas for years. We are ready to hear about your situation. Call us today for a free claim review and advice about your best legal options.

Why Are Oil Tanker Truck Accidents Happening?

Regulations set by the FMCSA regarding driver fatigue require drivers to get a minimum amount of rest between shifts. Creating regulations for proper rest protects drivers from being overworked and keeps roads safer.

The FMCSA requirements include:

  • Drivers must rest after 14 consecutive hours working. This includes work other than driving.
  • Drivers hauling property or goods are only allowed to be on the road for 11 hours.
  • To drive 11 consecutive hours, drivers need to have previously rested for 10 hours.
  • Drivers must meet the rest standard and drive within 8 hours of an off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
  • The 60/70 hour driving limit cannot be exceeded. However, after getting at least 34 hours of rest drivers can restart their time clock.

Unfortunately, at the behest of the oil and gas industry in the 1960s, exemptions were created for oil service drivers. Since oil service drivers aren’t required to follow the rules listed above, it is easier for them to work longer hours.

Though oil service drivers have the potential to make more money if they log more hours, the lack of regulation puts them at greater risk of being overworked by oil companies. This overwork can lead to fatigue that increases the risk of an accident.

What Are Oil Rig Truck Driver Regulations?

Oil service drivers can take advantage of three critical exceptions to the FMCSA driver fatigue regulations. These include:

  • Restarting with 24 hours off – While other commercial drivers must wait for 34 hours, drivers hauling oil only need to wait 24 hours.
  • Wait time as time-off – Oil drivers can consider the time they are waiting at a delivery site as “time off.” For other commercial drivers, this would be regarded as time working, and thus be required to take a break sooner.
  • Splitting break times – Oil service drivers can take shorter breaks over a shorter period of time compared to other commercial drivers.

These exemptions give drivers more independence and the ability to log more hours on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers will overwork themselves, experience intense fatigue and put themselves and others on the road at serious risk.

Common Causes of Oil Truck Accidents

A New York Times article found that in the last decade about 300 oil service drivers have died while working. Fatigue has a way of compromising judgment, coordination, and spatial evaluation.

Tired drivers may be more susceptible to the following:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Improperly secured loads
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Disregarding blind spots
  • Distracted driving
  • Poor road conditions
  • Driving under the influence

Since large commercial vehicles eclipse the size of most other passenger vehicles on the road, if they become involved in a collision, it can easily result in multiple fatalities or catastrophic injuries.

How Can Tate Law Offices, P.C., Help Me?

If you have been the victim of a collision with an oil truck, or you have lost a loved one due to a collision, you do not need to go through this situation alone. Call on the skilled Texas injury team at the Tate Law Offices, P.C., to discuss your case today. The consultation is free. Contact us today.


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