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Causes of New Mexico Trucking Accidents

With more people shopping online and the oil boom in the Permian Basin, large commercial trucks have become a common sight on state roadways. New Mexico has three interstate highways within its boundaries which carry heavy tractor trailer traffic. Small-town farm roads, such as Route 285, have become highways for an industry on which trucking accidents have increased significantly in recent years.

Aside from roads to and from the Permian Basin, the two major trucking routes in New Mexico are north/south I-25 and east/west I-40. These highways run for miles between cities and truck stops. Because of the long, lonely stretches of road, truck drivers may be more likely to engage in dangerous driving behavior that puts others on the roadways at risk. Common causes of New Mexico trucking accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue: Commercial truck drivers are limited to a maximum number of driving hours between off-duty time and rest breaks by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service regulations. Despite the rules, some truckers still drive fatigued. In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the federal government, researchers found that driver fatigue is one of the leading factors associated with truck accidents, as reported by FMCSA.
  • Speeding: Traveling too fast for conditions is another top factor contributing to truck accidents associated with large trucks and their drivers. Truckers traveling through New Mexico may be in a hurry to get to Arizona, Texas, or Colorado. Tractor trailers require more time and distance to stop than passenger vehicles, and the faster the rig is traveling, the more difficult it is to control. Truck drivers who speed greatly increase the risk of a crash.
  • Distracted driving: Truck drivers facing long, straight, empty stretches of road may be tempted to text or talk on the phone or check their email or Facebook while driving. This is dangerous behavior for any driver, but particularly one who is behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. 18-wheeler. Texting is particularly alarming, as it involves manual, visual, and cognitive attention. Commercial truck drivers are prohibited from texting while driving under FMCSA regulations.
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway: This another of the top ten contributing factors to truck accidents associated with truck drivers, as stated by FMCSA. Areas such as the “Big I” I-25/I-40 interchange in Albuquerque can be complex and confusing for drivers to navigate if they are unfamiliar with the roadway. This is particularly true for drivers operating a big rig.
  • Impaired driving: In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, researchers found that prescription and over-the-counter drug use were among the top ten factors contributing to truck accidents associated with large trucks and their drivers. According to another recent study, many truck drivers are operating big rigs under the influence of marijuana and illegal drugs, as reported by Reuters.

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Types of Truck Accidents in New Mexico

Because of their sheer size and weight, tractor trailers can cause major damage in a crash. Truck accidents can occur in several different ways, including:

  • Rear-end collisions: Big rigs are harder to stop than much smaller passenger vehicles. Deadly rear-end collisions can occur when a truck driver is distracted, speeding, or following too closely to the vehicle in front.
  • Underride accidents: Tractor trailers have higher ground clearance than most vehicles on the roadways. An underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle slides under a tractor trailer, often shearing off its top and fatally injuring the occupants. Underride truck accidents are more likely to occur at night, particularly if the rig does not have the proper reflective tape and lights required for visibility to alert other drivers of its presence.
  • Jackknife accidents: Jackknifing occurs when the trailer swings out, creating an angle between the trailer and cab. This can happen when a truck driver is traveling too fast for conditions or following too closely to another vehicle.
  • Unsecured cargo accidents: Tractor trailers can carry thousands of pounds of cargo. If it is not loaded and secured properly, the cargo can fall into the roadway, creating an obstacle course for other vehicles. This is particularly dangerous if the truck is hauling hazardous materials.

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Get Legal Help After a New Mexico Trucking Accident

If you have been hurt in a crash caused by a negligent truck driver, you need an experienced New Mexico trucking accident lawyer by your side to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a trucking accident case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.

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Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP

Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP is a legal practice that provides personal, client-centered legal services that address the specific needs of accident victims and injured parties.


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