New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Trucking Negligence

News reports indicate that a New Mexico man was killed in an 18-wheeler crash near the border of Colorado/New Mexico. According to reports, Ruben Gomez was travelling northbound on U.S. 550, just past the New Mexico-Colorado state line when his tanker truck veered off the road. Gomez attempted to correct and steer the big-rig back onto the road when his truck began to roll. The fuel tank ripped off the truck during the roll, spilling about 4,000 gallons of gasoline. Gomez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trucking collisions are some of the most deadly motor vehicle accidents. Due to the sheer size of an 18-wheeler, when a big rig truck accident occurs serious injuries and fatalities are often the result.

Many potential causes for truck accidents exist including driver error, negligent roadway design, and defective truck parts. In some cases, the trucking company who hires a driver may even be at fault where they demand unreasonable hours, excessive loads or employ other negligent or reckless work requirements. An experienced New Mexico truck accident law firm can investigate a truck accident and determine what factors may have played a role in causing serious personal injury or wrongful death. Where a party’s negligence causes harm, it may be possible to recover compensation for your injuries, or to provide damages to the survivors in a wrongful death action.
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Transportation safety – on roadways and highways in New Mexico and throughout the country is a concern to most Americans. When truck collisions occur, the results often include serious injuries and fatalities, many times the fault of a negligent truck driver or the company that hires them, with drivers forced to work excessive hours with little rest in order to make strict deadlines, and increase profits.

A recent study released examined the impact of fatigue on all transportation accidents, including truck collisions and revealed some startling statistics. The report concluded, “It’s impossible to say how many accidents are caused by operators who are just too tired to do their jobs … fatigue is frequently cited by investigators as a factor in accidents in the air, on the water and on railways and highways.”

Although the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) does not track fatigue-related highway accidents on a regular basis, investigators studying the effect of drug and alcohol on trucking accident determined that fatigue was a bigger problem than drug or alcohol impairment, with 30 to 40 percent of all accidents fatigue related. Further, because drivers and paid by the mile, attractive financial incentives exist to “drive as far and as fast as you can.” Recent efforts in New Mexico and throughout the country have been stepped up targeting commercial drivers – and their employers to pay attention to this dangerous – often fatal issue.
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Driving a truck can be a dangerous job. In the last few weeks, weather conditions having created hazardous driving conditions all across New Mexico. Drivers need to be alert and focused to handle the perils of the road.

Unfortunately, in an effort to increase profits, some trucking companies push their drivers to exhaustion, violating hours of service requirements and circumventing logbook rules and regulations. Further truckers – under pressure to make tight delivery schedules – may falsify logbook entries in order to conceal driving in excess of the maximum number of hours allowed.

Within the next several months the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be reviewing and re-writing the current hours of service rule which lengthened the time drivers could spend behind the wheel before resting. This rule allows truckers to drive up to 11 hours following a break.

Earlier this year, a coalition of advocates released a study showing that the current hours of service rule is unsafe for the public and unhealthy for drivers. Rather than focusing on safety, the current guidelines push drivers to stay on the road while tired in order to meet tight deadlines, increasing truckers’ and other motorists’ risks.

As New Mexico trucking negligence attorneys we urge the FMCSA to seriously consider reducing the number of hours truckers may be forced to drive. Driver fatigue can lead to tragic accidents – putting both the lives of our truckers and others sharing the road at too great a risk.