Albuquerque Trucking Crashes Caused by Blinding Rain: Liability Explained

- Mark Caruso

When Heavy Rain Causes an Albuquerque Trucking Crash, Liability is Still on the Driver Not on the Weather

A motor vehicle accident caused by heavy rain may appear obvious that it was the rain’s fault, right?  Wrong.  New Mexico law and federal regulations require motorists, particularly truck drivers of big rigs, 18 wheelers, tanker, flatbeds, double trailers, and other large commercial vehicles, to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances when operating a motor vehicle.

What does this mean exactly?  When the weather conditions make driving dangerous, truck drivers need to reduce speed or stop driving to ensure they can safely proceed.  If a truck driver fails to do so, it can result in a serious Albuquerque trucking accident which can seriously injure or kill a victim.  If you or a loved one were killed by a truck driver in heavy rain, call the experienced Albuquerque trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000 for a FREE consultation to learn how we can protect your rights to compensation.

New Mexico Law Requires Trucks to Slow Down or Stop in Heavy, Blinding Rain

New Mexico statutory law, or laws made by the legislature, contain several prohibitions on operating a motor vehicle during heavy, blinding rain where it could result in danger to others on the roadway.  For instant, NM Stat. 66-7-301 provides that a driver shall control the speed of his or her vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle or other on the highway.  Cases have interpreted this as meaning if the conditions of the roadway are dangerous due to the weather, a driver must slow down or stop otherwise he or she would be violating this statute and liable for any trucking accident.

Under NM Stat. 66-7-318 (A), a motorist shall not follow another vehicle “more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon the condition of the highway.”  If the condition of the highway is limited due to heavy rain, then a motorist must slow down to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of him or her.  If the motorist fails to do that, he or she may be negligent for violating the statute and causing serious injuries.

Under the common law, or judge made law, a driver is negligent if he or she fails to see what there is to be seen or hear what there is to be heard.  This means that if a driver knows that he or she cannot see due to the heavy rain, then the driver but slow down or stop to avoid a collision.  Therefore, even if one of the statutes above does not fit, a driver can STILL be found negligent just on the common law claim for negligence.

Federal Regulations Require Trucks to Stop or Slow in Heavy Rain

Laws differ from state to state.  Sine trucking is largely an interstate business wherein large commercial trucks go across the county and use some of New Mexico’s busy interstates such as I-40, I-25, and I-10, federal regulations have been enacted to set general standards throughout all the states.  These regulations are agency made, or enacted by the third and final branch of government—executive branch of government.

Under 49 CFR 392.14, a driver of a large commercial truck must use “extreme caution” in the operation of such truck in hazardous conditions such as rain which “adversely affect[s] visibility or traction.”  Further, the regulation continues that “[s]peed shall be reduced when such conditions exist . . . [i]f conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until . . . [the truck] can be safely operated.”

If a truck driver causes a serious Albuquerque trucking accident because he or she failed to operate their vehicle safely given the circumstances, it can result in a violation of this federal regulation.  While it is not automatically a finding of negligence, it is evidence of negligence that a judge or jury may use against the defendant truck driver or trucking company.

Injuries in Albuquerque Trucking Accidents Caused by Heavy Rain Can Result in Liability and Compensation for a Victim

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.