Houston Truck Accident Attorneys–Adverse Driving Conditions

June 21, 2016

The Houston truck accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard know too well the terrible things that result in injuries and death when 18-wheeler truck drivers and trucking companies fail to follow the federal Hours of Service requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

This is the second in a series of articles setting out the Hours of Service requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

What Are Adverse Driving Conditions For 18-Wheelers?

One important part of the Hours of Service requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act relates to adverse driving conditions.  18-wheeler drivers who break the Hours of Service requirements and operate trucks in adverse driving conditions can cause serious injury or death.

Section 395.2 of the Hours of Service part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act defines adverse driving conditions and other terms as follows:

Adverse driving conditions mean snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent based on information known to the person dispatching the run when it was begun.

Agricultural commodity means any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber, or livestock (including livestock as defined in sec. 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 [7 U.S.C. 1471] and insects).

An automatic on-board recording device means an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of accurately and automatically recording the driver’s duty status information as required by § 395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.

Driver-salesperson means any employee who is employed solely as such by a private carrier of property by commercial motor vehicle, who is engaged both in selling goods, services, or the use of goods, and in delivering by commercial motor vehicle the goods sold or provided or upon which the services are performed, who does so entirely within a radius of 100 miles of the point at which he/she reports for duty, who devotes not more than 50 percent of his/her hours on duty to driving time. The term selling goods for purposes of this section shall include, in all cases, solicitation or obtaining of reorders or new accounts and may also include other selling or merchandising activities designed to retain the customer or to increase the sale of goods or services in addition to solicitation or obtaining of reorders or new accounts.

Driving time means all time spent at a commercial motor vehicle’s driving controls.

Eight consecutive days means 8 consecutive days beginning on any day at the time designated by the motor carrier for 24 hours.

Farm supplies for agricultural purposes mean products directly related to the growing or harvesting of agricultural commodities during each State’s planting and harvesting seasons, as determined by the State, and livestock feed at any time of the year.

Ground water well drilling rig means any vehicle, machine, tractor, trailer, semi-trailer, or specialized mobile equipment propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used on highways to transport water well field operating equipment, including water well drilling and pump service rigs equipped to access groundwater.

Multiple stops means all stops made in one village, town, or city may be computed as one.

On-duty time means all time from when a driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include:

(1) All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;

(2) All-time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning of any commercial motor vehicle at any time;

(3) All driving time as defined in the term driving time;

(4) All time in or on a commercial motor vehicle other than:

(i) Time spent resting in or on a parked vehicle, except as otherwise provided in § 397.5 of this subchapter;

(ii) Time spent resting in a sleeper berth; or

(iii) Up to 2 hours riding in the passenger seat of a property-carrying vehicle moving on the highway immediately before or after at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth;

(5) All time loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle, supervising or assisting in the loading or unloading, attending a commercial motor vehicle being loaded or unloaded, remaining in readiness to operate the commercial motor vehicle, or giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded;

(6) All time repairing, obtaining assistance, or remaining in attendance upon a disabled commercial motor vehicle;

(7) All time spent providing a breath sample or urine specimen, including travel time to and from the collection site, to comply with the random, reasonable suspicion, post-crash, or follow-up testing required by part 382 of this subchapter when directed by a motor carrier;

(8) Performing any other work in the capacity, employ, or service of a motor carrier; and

(9) Performing any compensated work for a person who is not a motor carrier.

Seven consecutive days means 7 consecutive days beginning on any day at the time designated by the motor carrier for 24 hours.

Signal employee, as defined in 49 U.S.C. 21101(4), means an individual who installs, repairs, or maintains signal systems.

A sleeper berth means a berth conforming to the requirements of § 393.76 of this chapter.

Transportation of construction materials and equipment means the transportation of construction and pavement materials, construction equipment, and construction maintenance vehicles by a driver to or from an active construction site (a construction site between the mobilization of equipment and materials to the site to the completion of the construction project) within a 50 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location of the driver. This paragraph does not apply to the transportation of material found by the Secretary to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations issued to carry out such section.

A twenty-four-hour period means any 24-consecutive-hour period beginning at the time designated by the motor carrier for the terminal from which the driver is normally dispatched.

Utility service vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle:

(1) Used in the furtherance of repairing, maintaining, or operating any structures or any other physical facilities necessary for the delivery of public utility services, including the furnishing of electric, gas, water, sanitary sewer, telephone, and television cable or community antenna service;

(2) While engaged in any activity necessarily related to the ultimate delivery of such public utility services to consumers, including travel or movement to, from, upon, or between activity sites (including occasional travel or movement outside the service area necessitated by any utility emergency as determined by the utility provider); and

(3) Except for occasional emergency use, operated primarily within the service area of a utility’s subscribers or consumers, without regard to whether the vehicle is owned, leased, or rented by the utility.

Best 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys In Houston?

Our experienced truck accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard are privileged to represent injured passengers, drivers, pedestrians, and family members who suffer the consequences of 18-wheeler accidents nationwide.

To learn more about your legal rights, please call us at 800-489-2216 for a free consultation.

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