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How Do Short Haul Truck Accident Case Work in Texas?

By: Mike Grossman, Texas Injury Attorney

Injured in a wreck with a short-haul or local-route truck? Your case will look different than most truck cases. Here's what we mean:

Short-haul truck drivers, unlike long-haul drivers who run from city-to-city or state-to-state for several weeks at a time, usually drive 100 miles or less per day and have a set daily schedule. They leave home, report to their base, have several deliveries around town, and then return home at night.

While short-haul drivers have an advantage over their long-haul brethren in that they can sleep in their own bed every night, they still have extremely taxing schedules. Even though they do not operate under the same hours-of-service regulations as do long-haul drivers, fatigue is still a serious problem. And when a truck driver is fatigued - whether he's driving 60 miles or 600 - accidents can take place that can lead to severe injuries.

If you've been hurt in an accident involving a short-haul driver, it is essential that you hire an attorney who will protect your rights and give you the best possible chance of securing equitable restitution. At Grossman Law Offices, our attorneys have represented clients in all manner of trucking accident cases for the past two and a half decades. We have the experience - and more importantly, the track record of success - that you should be looking for in your legal representative.

Hours-of-Service Requirements

First and foremost, let's not ignore the reality: the jobs of both long-haul truck drivers and short-haul drivers can be extremely tiring. Long-haul drivers have to sit behind the wheel for an extended period of time surrounded by scenery that often never really changes. Think about the last time you took a 10-hour road trip through open country and you'll realize what a long-haul driver goes through on a regular basis.

In contrast, most short-haul drivers make repeated stops as part of their daily routine. And while most of these drivers' trucks have good ventilation and ergonomically designed cabs, many of these drivers still have to load and unload cargo, walk for long distances, are exposed to often-extreme weather conditions, and deal with the daily noise and fumes of other vehicles.

But even though short-haul drivers can get just as tired as long-haul drivers, they are not subject to the same hours-of-service (HOS) rules. Long-haul drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours in a single day; however, not only are short-haul drivers allowed to drive for 12 consecutive hours, they are even permitted to work 16 consecutive hours one day a week.

Short-haul drivers are allowed the "100 air-mile exemption" to HOS regulations. "Air-miles" are the straight-line distance on a map between the base of operations and the farthest destination or pick-up. So, theoretically at least, a driver could drive 300 miles within his delivery area and still qualify under the 100 air-mile exemption.

The Logbook Exemption

Not only can a short-haul driver work longer hours than long-haul drivers, he is also exempt from having to keep a logbook of his hours of service. This could create a substantial problem in regard to your case, because if there is no logbook available, it could be difficult to prove that the driver caused your accident due to fatigue.

One of the myriad reasons you need a skilled attorney handling your case is that such a lawyer can conduct an investigation into your accident, helping determine both the cause and the party or parties responsible. We have conducted countless investigations during our 25 years in practice, and gathered the evidence needed to help our clients win their cases. We will interview witnesses, obtain dispatch records and perform several other tasks to prove that your accident was the responsibility of the truck driver and trucking company. It is imperative, however, that you have that investigation conducted as quickly as possible because evidence can have a way of "disappearing" through nefarious means.

Get Legal Help as Soon as You Can

Even though they do not have to conform to the same rules as long-haul drivers, short-haul truck drivers face the same risks of accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident involving a truck operated by a short-haul driver, please do not hesitate to call Grossman Law Offices at (855) 326-0000 (toll free) for a free and confidential consultation. We will listen to the details of your accident and let you know how we may be able to help you obtain fair compensation for the suffering you have been forced to endure due to the negligence of someone else.

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