The U.S. plays an essential role in commerce, and commercial trucking contributes to Texas’ economy.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for trucking companies to ensure safe driving practices by drivers and their employers. Oil companies are not subject to some safety regulations, which allow them to drive with less rest than commercial truck drivers.
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Why are there oil tanker truck accidents?
FMCSA regulations regarding driver fatigue mandate that drivers get as little rest as possible between shifts. The FMCSA creates regulations to ensure drivers get enough rest between shifts. This helps keep roads safer and prevents them from being overworked.
The FMCSA requirements are:
- After 14 hours of continuous work, drivers must take a break. This includes any work that is not related to driving.
- Only 11 hours are allowed for drivers who transport property or goods.
- Drivers must have previously slept for at least 10 hours before they can drive 11 consecutive hours.
- Drivers must adhere to the rest standard and be able to drive within 8 hours after an off-duty or sleeping period of no less than 30 minutes.
- It is illegal to exceed the 60/70-hour driving limit. Drivers can resume their driving time clock after having at least 34 hours of rest.
Oil service drivers were granted exemptions at the request of the oil and natural gas industry in the 1960s. It is much easier for oil service drivers to work longer hours because they are not required to follow the above rules.
Oil service drivers can make more money if their hours are longer, but the lack of regulation means they are more likely to be overworked. Overwork can cause fatigue, which increases the chance of an accident.
What are the Oil Rig Truck Driver Regulations
Three exceptions to FMCSA’s driver fatigue regulations for oil service drivers are available to them. These are:
- Restarting with 24 Hours Off – While commercial drivers have to wait 34 hours, oil truck drivers only need to wait for 24 hours.
- Wait Time as Time-Off – Oil truck drivers can view their time waiting at a delivery location as “time off.” Commercial drivers would consider this time to be time working and be required to take a rest sooner.
- Break times – Oil service drivers can take shorter breaks for a shorter time than commercial drivers.
These exemptions allow drivers to be more independent and log more time on the road. Many drivers are guilty of overworking themselves and putting others on the roads at risk.
Common Causes of Oil Truck Unsafety Incidents
According to a New York Times article, 300 of the nation’s oil service drivers died in the line of duty over the past decade. Fatigue can cause judgment, coordination, spatial evaluation, and even coordination problems.
Tired drivers might be more vulnerable to the following:
- Reckless driving
- Loads that are not adequately secured
- Poor truck maintenance
- Blind spots are not to be ignored
- Distracted driving
- Road conditions are poor
- Driving while under the influence
Large commercial vehicles are more significant than most passenger cars on the road. This can lead to multiple fatalities and catastrophic injuries.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You?
You don’t have to suffer the pain of being in a fatal collision with an oil truck or losing a loved one because of it. To discuss your case, call us today—no-cost consultation. Get in touch with us today.