Commercial Motor Vehicles

Tractor-Trailer AccidentTruck Accident Attorney Serving Houston, TX

By definition, a commercial vehicle is a type of motor vehicle used to transport goods or passengers. There are various types of commercial motor vehicles, including trucks, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, buses and vans. If a vehicle fits into one or more of the following categories, it may be considered a commercial vehicle: it belongs to a company or corporation; it exceeds certain weight limits; it is used to transport 15 or more passengers; or it is used to transport hazardous materials.

Understanding more about commercial vehicles can help you understand what to do if you are involved in a collision with such a vehicle. Issues such as liability and the manner in which a claim is resolved may vary depending on the type of vehicle, who owns it and what caused the collision. This is where a Houston truck accident attorney at Stern Law Group can offer experienced guidance and insight.

We represent victims of commercial truck and other auto accidents in the Houston area, helping our clients recover the financial compensation they need for medical care, lost earnings and possibly more.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Laws in Texas

Certain state and federal laws govern commercial vehicles. They apply to weight limits, vehicle size limits, driver work hours and rest periods, vehicle inspections, driver drug testing and more. According to Texas Transportation Code § 548.001:

  • (1) "Commercial motor vehicle" means a self-propelled or towed vehicle, other than a farm vehicle with a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of less than 48,000 pounds, that is used on a public highway to transport passengers or cargo if:
    • (A) the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Section 541.201, or combination of vehicles has a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds;
    • (B) the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Section 541.201, is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or
    • (C) the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding by a regulation issued under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. Section 5101 et seq.).

Any driver that operates a commercial motor vehicle is required to have a special license, a Commercial Driver License (CDL). There are three basic CDL classes in Texas; a driver must have the right license for the vehicle he or she is driving.

Commercial drivers must also abide by traffic laws like other drivers, yet they are held to more stringent regulations when it comes to blood alcohol levels. A driver with a normal license may not operate a motor vehicle while with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. Drivers with CDLs, however, may not operate a vehicle while with a BAC of .04% or greater. Drivers are also required to take blood or breath alcohol testing if pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Drunk driving violations may result in CDL suspension or revocation, heavy fines, termination of employment and even jail time.

Get Experienced Help from a Truck Accident Lawyer

With a solid understanding of commercial vehicle and CDL laws in Texas, we at Stern Law Group are prepared to offer experienced counsel to truck accident victims in the Houston area. If you are interested in finding out what right you have to compensation and how to approach your claim, please call for a free consultation.

Contact a Houston truck accident lawyer at our firm and discover what a difference we can make for you.