Commercial drivers in Texas and throughout the country could soon see a change to current hours-of-service rules. As they are written today, drivers can remain on duty for no longer than 14 hours at a time. During this on-duty period, they can spend up to 11 hours on the road. Once that period is over, a driver must wait at least 10 hours before working again.
Motor vehicle accident fatalities in Texas and around the country fell by 2% in 2017, but the number of road users killed in crashes involving commercial vehicles rose by a worrying 9% to 4,761. That is the highest truck accident death toll in 29 years, and 72% of those killed were traveling in passenger vehicles that were struck by tractor-trailers. The sophisticated safety systems fitted to modern commercial vehicles do not seem to be enough to prevent accident deaths from rising even higher, and some road safety advocacy groups say federal hours-of-service rules could be the reason why.
Law enforcement officials in Texas and other states routinely monitor roads for bad driving behaviors. Such efforts are stepped up during annual Operation Safe Driver Week events. The focus for the 2019 event will be speeding, which was a contributing factor in more than 90% of all traffic accidents in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.