car accident

New Mexico’s Deadliest Intersections: Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Explains

- Mark Caruso

All Intersections are Dangerous, But These New Mexico Intersections are the Deadliest in the State

Any time a vehicle approaches an intersection it could result in a serious motor vehicle accident.  That is the simple truth in that intersections are segments of the road where one direction of traffic crosses over another lane of traffic.  Collisions can be at high speeds and impact at the vulnerable part of the vehicle—the side impact.  Not only is this dangerous, but it is deadly.

Recently statistics from the University of New Mexico have been released ranking the worst intersections in New Mexico.  As previously identified in our last blog post, the worst intersection was Coors Blvd NW and Paseo Del Norte Blvd NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  This intersection had 380 motor vehicle accidents of which 29% (110) were fatal.  This intersection had the highest number of fatalities out of any other intersection in the state.

Deadliest Intersections in New Mexico

While Coors and Paseo Del Norte have the highest number of fatalities, it does not have the highest percentage of fatal accidents.  The percentage of fatal accidents really goes to how dangerous an intersection is.  Here is a list of the intersections with the highest rate of fatality per vehicle accident:

Elks Dr and Main St, in Las Cruces, New Mexico – 41% fatal;

Central Ave W and Unser Blvd NW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 38% fatal;

Indian School Rd NE and San Mateo NE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 38% fatal;

Main St and Solano Dr, in Las Cruces, New Mexico – 37% fatal;

Fairview Lane and Riverside Dr, in Española, New Mexico – 37% fatal;

Coors Blvd NW and Irving Blvd NW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 35% fatal;

Airport Rd and Cerrillos Rd, in Santa Fe, New Mexico – 33% fatal;

Coors Blvd NW and Quail Rd NW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 32% fatal;

Osuna Rd NE and San Mateo Blvd NE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 32% fatal;

Eubank Blvd NE and Montgomery Blvd NE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – 31% fatal; and

Cerrillos Rd and Zafarano Dr, in Santa Fe, New Mexico – 30% fatal.

Injuries and Deaths at Intersections Deserve Strong Legal Advocacy 

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.

Worst Intersections in Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque Car Accident Attorney Explains

- Mark Caruso

All Intersections are Deadly, but These are the Worst Intersections in Albuquerque, NM which Result in Many Serious and Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

Intersections are the most dangerous portions of a roadway.  This is because motor vehicle traveling from one direction directly cross over the path of roadway crossing in another direction.    Uncontrolled intersections are the most dangerous, followed by intersections with more than four routes or paths.  When lights malfunction or weather conditions obscure or make visibility difficult, intersections just become more dangerous and likely to result in very serious or fatal Albuquerque trucking accidents.

New Mexico Statutory Law Warns of Dangerous Intersections

In fact, New Mexico statutory law even imposes special requirements on vehicles approaching or in intersections.  Vehicles approaching an intersection is governed by NM Stat. 66-7-328, which establishes the right of way for vehicles in intersections requiring all vehicles approaching the intersection to yield to other vehicles already in the intersection.

NM Stat. 66-7-329 governs vehicles turning left at intersections, and requires all vehicle turning left to yield to all other vehicles to not constitute an immediate hazard when turning.  Similarly under.  NM Stat. 66-7-330, vehicles governs vehicles entering an intersection from a stop or yield sign, such driver must slow down to a speed reasonable and yield to the right of way of all vehicles in the intersection or approaching which constitute an immediate hazard.

Violating these statutes can result in very serious and deadly car accidents.  This can result in liability for the victims, as these statutes are intended to prevent against those harms at intersections.  When they occur, the defendant violating the statute will likely be liable under the theory of negligence per se.  This means that the violator could be found automatically negligent for violating the statute and causing your harm.

Top Five Most Dangerous Intersections in Albuquerque, New Mexico

While all intersections are deadly and dangerous, here at the top five most dangerous and deadly intersections in New Mexico:

  1. Coors Blvd NW and Paseo del Norte Blvd NW – in a three year period approximately 380 motor vehicle accidents were reported with 29% being fatal or causing serious personal injuries.
  2. Jefferson St NE & Paseo del Norte Blvd NE – in a three year period approximately 365 crashes occurred, with 27% resulting in fatal or serious personal injuries.
  3. Montgomery Blvd NE and San Mateo Blvd NE – in a three year period approximately 260 accidents were reported with 25% being fatal or causing serious personal injury.
  4. Central Ave E & San Mateo Blvd – in three years, there were 145 total motor vehicle accidents with 48 resulting in serious personal injuries or a fatality.  What makes this intersection more dangerous is the number of pedestrian collisions which were the highest surveyed at 12 pedestrian knockdowns.
  5. Coors Blvd & Montano Rd. NW – overall ranked the 6th most dangerous in a three year study with 242 crashes and 25% being fatal or resulting in injury, this intersection remained higher on the list for not decreasing and improving its crashes while the other intersections all did.

Victims of Albuquerque Car Accident in the Top Five Dangerous Intersections in New Mexico Require Strong Legal Advocacy

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.

New Mexico Drunk Driving Accidents are Decreasing, But Still Too Deadly

- Mark Caruso

Statistics Show New Mexico Trucking Driving Accidents are Decreasing, But Even One is too Many

As experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys, the attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. know that even one drunk driving motor vehicle accident is inexcusable.  These are preventable accidents which should not occur, and only occur but for the negligence of the intoxicated driver.  Recent studies for the last year of statistics have shown that New Mexico drunk driving accidents are steadily decreasing and even at some of their lowest numbers, but still almost 400 people are killed each year in New Mexico drunk driving accidents.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico drunk driving accident, call our experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys to learn how we can protect your rights to compensation.  We will fight to get you the maximum compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries or the death of a loved one.  We offer a FREE consultation, so call (505) 883-5000 now to hear how we can help you.

Grim Statistics for New Mexico

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,254 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a drunk driver in New Mexico in the years 2003 through 2012.  New Mexico’s rate of deaths per age group per 100,000 was more than the national average in each age group studied.  According to news outlet, this is because New Mexico actually lead the country in alcohol-related deaths in 2014, the last year of compiled statistics.

Drunk Driving is Illegal and is Negligent

NM Stat 66-8-102 makes it is unlawful for any person from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence any intoxicating liquor such as wine, beer, liquor, cider, or any other alcoholic beverage.  There are different levels of intoxication based on a set of parameters, which include the following:

  • it is illegal to drive with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more if you are 21 years old or more;
  • it is illegal to drive with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .02 or more if you are under 21 years old; and
  • it is illegal to drive with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .04 or more if you drive a commercial vehicle like a tractor trailer truck.

Any driver who violates this status can be found negligent per se.  This means that a violator who causes a New Mexico motor vehicle accident is automatically deemed negligent.  This allows a victim who was injured by the drunk driver to prove his or her case by virtue of the drunk driver violating the statute.

Injuries or Wrongful Deaths Cased by a Drunk Driver are Unacceptable and Negligent

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.

Diagnosing Back Injuries After Albuquerque Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Car Accidents Commonly Cause Back Injuries, But These are Hard Injuries to Diagnose and Proof in Court

The back and spine are very resilient.  In fact, the vertebrae comprising of the spinal column is designed to shield and protect the spinal cord from damage.  But any type of accident can cause a back injury, such as a slip and fall, construction accident, and especially a car accident.  In fact, car accidents place a lot of stress and jostling of the spine and back.  This is particularly true of trucking accidents which can cause catastrophic injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered a back injury, neck injury, spinal cord injury, or other related injury, contact the experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000.  Back injuries can be difficult to prove both damages and causation, and it requires legal representation with both legal experience and medical knowledge to prove your case.  We have a proven track record of both, and will fight hard to earn you the maximum amount of compensation that you may be entitled to.

Causes of Back Injuries in Albuquerque Car Accidents

There are many different causes of back injuries in Albuquerque car accidents.  This is because the back, particularly the neck, is in a position where it is susceptible to injury, even in low speed collisions.  Back injuries can be caused be a variety of types of car accidents, including the following:

  • Head on collisions;
  • T-bone crashes;
  • Rear end accidents;
  • Roll over accidents;
  • Tractor trailer jackknife accidents;
  • Crossing the center line accidents;
  • Side-swipe car accidents; and
  • Many other types of car accidents.

Proving Back Injuries from Albuquerque Car Accidents

Back injuries are difficult to prove in any litigation because they do not always come with the same symptoms as other injuries.  Back injuries also can cause pain without showing up on an x-ray, MRI, or other imaging study.  That is because back injuries are commonly cause nerve injuries which are difficult to prove are injured, affected, or causing pain.  Objective evidence of the injuries is king to win your case.

However, there are some ways to prove back injuries.  First, an x-ray is an important tool because you can immediately diagnose if there is a fracture to a vertebra.  While x-rays are limited, a fractured vertebra can immediately demonstrate an injury and win you case.

Second, an MRI is the next most important tool.  An MRI takes pictures of the structures in your body, such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  It can show damage to these structures, such as tears, bulges, ruptures, impingement, and other abnormalities which can cause pain and demonstrate injury.

Third, EMG nerve conduction studies can be used to show what nerves are injured and how injured they are.  This is a study that is done with needles places throughout the patient’s body, and electrical impulses are sent up and down the patient’s body and measured by the needle.  The speed and strength of the electrical impulse is measured and the injury can be quantified.

Back Injuries Are Devastating Injuries and Should be Compensated

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.

Serious Injuries Caused by T-Bone New Mexico Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

T-Bone New Mexico Car Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries and Death to Victims

There are not many types of New Mexico car accidents scarier then a t-bone car accident.  These types of car accidents frequently result in very serious personal injuries and even death to occupants hit in the t-boned vehicle.  This is became the side panels of car are a lot thinner and without a crunch zone, thus placing very little between the oncoming car and the occupant of the car.  Whereas the front of the car has a large crunch zone and engine block separating the occupants from danger.  Without question, those usually injured or killed in a t-bone collision are the occupants of the vehicle that are t-boned—not the occupants of the vehicle which hits head on.

Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys have handled many t-bone car accidents.  We know that these types of collisions can cause debilitating personal injuries, significant pain and suffering, and even wrongful death.  Many times these types of car accidents result in he-said, she-said claims as to who should not have proceeded forward.  We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to thoroughly investigate your claim and prove the other driver was at fault to protect your rights to compensation.  Call us today for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help you and your loved ones.

Causes of T-Bone New Mexico Car Accidents

As noted above, t-bone car accidents are very dangerous for the occupants of the vehicle being t-boned due to the lack of a crunch zone and lack of safety equipment for that type of impact.  For instance, car seats and seatbelts are designed for rear end and front accidents.  They have the head restraint to accommodate that forward and back motion.  A t-bone car accident causes a side-to-side motion which is completely unsupported.  More and more vehicles nowadays have side curtains, but this still does not support the head and neck completely.

Beyond the safety equipment and physics, most t-bone car accidents are caused by the negligence—if not gross negligence—of one or more drivers.  Indeed, most instances of t-bone car accidents can be fully prevented.  This includes the following causes of t-bone car accidents:

  • Running a red light;
  • Failing to yield;
  • Excessive speed;
  • Running a stop sign;
  • Failing to stop due to snow and ice;
  • Unable to see due to low visibility such as during a dust storm;
  • Mechanical failure of brakes;
  • Tire blowout;
  • Inexperienced driver;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Drunk driving or driving while ability impaired;
  • Street racing;
  • Texting while driving;
  • Unable to see due to overloaded vehicle;
  • Speeding through a roundabout;
  • Speeding to beat a yellow light;
  • Driving too fast in a parking lot;
  • Backing out of a parking spot too fast; and
  • Many other types of collisions.

T-Bone New Mexico Car Accidents Can Kill and Maim

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.

New Mexico Car Accidents Caused by Snow and Ice

- Mark Caruso

Snow and Ice is Inherently Dangerous and Can Cause Serious New Mexico Car Accidents, Including Massive Pileup Accidents and Deadly Collisions 

While the snow may be pretty to look at, it is also pretty dangerous.  Snow and ice creates a slick surface on roadways increasing the time to stop due to a lack of friction and decreasing the maneuverability of a motor vehicle.  Black ice, ice that is essentially clear, flat, and smooth over the roadway, is particularly dangerous because it is very hard to see but just as dangerous.  When drivers encounter snow and ice on the roadways, they should slow down as reasonable under the circumstances to safely operate their motor vehicle.

However, many drivers do not do so.  Recently on I-40, one person was killed and 36 others injured due to snow and ice on the roadway which resulted in a massive pileup.  Other accidents on I-40 also resulted in 38 miles of the highway being closed down.  In fact, New Year’s day was plagued with many icy stretches of highway causing serious car accidents and heavy traffic.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a New Mexico car accident caused by snow and ice, call our experienced Albuquerque car accidents attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to learn how we can protect your rights to compensation and ensure you obtain the maximum amount you are entitled to.  We have a proven track record of success, and will work hard to advocate for you and your loved ones.  Call us today at (505) 883-5000 for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help you recover from serious injuries after a New Mexico car accident.

Common Accidents Due to Snow and Ice

There may be no greater dangerous condition on a roadway than snow and ice.  This dangerous condition can form very quickly, form anywhere, and even be difficult to detect until it is too late.  This is particularly true on interstates and highways, where snow and ice can prevent motor vehicles from stopping in from, maintaining control, and staying in the vehicle’s designated lane.  This is particularly true for large commercial trucks such as big-rigs, 18 wheelers, flatbeds, tankers, and other large tractor trailers who may more easily lose control and cause serious personal injuries.

Snow and ice can cause many different types of New Mexico car accidents, which include the following types:

  • Pileup car accidents;
  • Jackknife trucking accidents;
  • Rear end collisions;
  • Rollover accidents;
  • Spinout accidents;
  • T-bone accidents;
  • Sideswipe collisions;
  • Single car accidents off of the roadway;
  • Trucking accidents due to unable to stop;
  • Head on collisions; and
  • Many more serious accidents.

Snow and Ice on the Roadway can Injure or Kill Motorists: Call us Today For a FREE Consultation to Learn How We Can Help You After a New Mexico Car Accident

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.

Killed During the Holidays: When New Mexico Car Accidents Cause Traffic Fatalities

- Mark Caruso

Holiday New Mexico Car Accidents Can Result in Serious Injuries and Fatalities

The holidays are meant to be joyous and full of love and family reunions.  For a large part, that is absolutely true.  However, the holidays bring increased traffic on the roadways.  As discussed last week, this increased traffic can bring out less experienced, less competent, and more distracted drivers.  And as noted earlier this week, the holidays can also bring out intoxicated drivers.  All of these factors can result in horrific New Mexico car accidents.

Unfortunately, many of these car accidents will result in fatalities.  This places intense emotional, physical, and financial burdens on the entire family of the deceased.  Here are the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys have handled many unfortunate wrongful death cases wherein a loved one was lost due to the negligence of another.  This can be no harder than during the holiday season.  We know how to work with experts and investigators to ensure your family can get the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to for your lost loved one.  We will work to lift the emotional, physical, and financials burdens from your family so you can focus on recovery, while we work on protecting your loved one’s rights.  Call us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Dangers of Holiday New Mexico Wrongful Death Car Accidents

Most people traveling for the holidays will drive significant distances.  This means that most of the travelers will use highways and interstates to travel to and from their homes to their family and holiday traveling locations.  These types of roads are more dangerous than local roads for several reasons, particularly the speed at which vehicles can travel and due to the massive tractor trailers which can result in catastrophic trucking accidents.

Given these two factors, coupled with the other unique factors of holiday traveling such as drunk driving, inexperienced driving, and weather-related dangers, holiday travel can result in New Mexico wrongful deaths.

What is a New Mexico Wrongful Death Case?

When a holiday New Mexico car accident causes the death of a victim, the victim is unable to commence an action against the negligent party.  Like most states, New Mexico law also has created laws which allow the surviving spouse and other dependents or family members to commence an action for the wrongful death of their loved one.  This is meant to hold the person or persons who caused the victim’s death responsible financially to help compensate the victim’s family for their loss.  This can be in the form of pain and suffering, or in lost wages, support, and related benefits the victim contributed to the family.

Holiday New Mexico Car Accidents Can Kill, and You Can Obtain Compensation for Your Loved One’s Loss!

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.

Brachial Plexus Injuries in New Mexico Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Car Accidents Can Cause Very Serious Brachial Plexus and Nerve Injuries

Our central nervous system is comprised of our brain and spinal cord.  It is critically important to our thought process, autonomy, movement, and sensation.  Both the brain and spinal cord are very fragile, which is why they are both encased in solid bone.  Branching out of the spinal cord are nerves which extend from the spinal cord.

These nerves are more resilient and not as fragile as the brain or spinal cord, but they are just as important.  These nerves carry messages from the extremities to the spinal cord and brain.  These messages include both sensation but also messages to help move the extremities.  These are very crucial to day-to-day life and are necessary to help extremities move and feel.  But they are still susceptible to injuries in New Mexico car accidents.

One of the major parts of the body where the nerves branch off from the neck region to the shoulder.  The bundle of nerves that come off of the cervical vertebrae to the shoulder is called the brachial plexus.  These nerves supply the entire arm’s movement and sensation.  They come through the shoulder griddle and break off into multiple branches and combine, then break off and recombine as they travel down the arm to the fingertips.

Causes of Damage to the Brachial Plexus in New Mexico Car Accidents

While more resilient, the brachial plexus is not immune to injury.  Injuries to the brachial plexus are common in car accidents, particularly trucking accidents, and can cause permanent damage to a person’s arm and nerves for the rest of his or her life.

Common causes of brachial plexus injuries in New Mexico car accidents include the following:

  • Seatbelt injuries;
  • Rear end collisions;
  • Rollover accidents;
  • Trucking accidents;
  • Crushing damage;
  • Foreign objects in the arm;
  • Pulling injuries;
  • Lacerations;
  • Dislocation injuries to the shoulder;
  • Arm trapped in wreckage; and
  • Other similar injuries.

Brachial Plexus Injuries are Very Serious and Cause Permanent Damages

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.

Cervical Injuries in Albuquerque Car Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Albuquerque Car Accidents Can Cause Very Serious and Debilitating Cervical Injuries

Any car accident can cause serious personal injuries, even at low speeds, to the neck or spine.  This is particularly true of rear end collisions which put pressure on the spine, spinal cord, and the entire spinal column because of the whiplash motion.  The strain is particularly intense on the cervical spine which is also particularly susceptible to injury.  As a result, serious and debilitating injuries to the cervical spine (the neck) can require years of treatment and invasive surgery, including a fusion.

Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., we understand that cervical injuries are particularly devastating, painful, and debilitating because we have handled many cervical and spinal injuries.  Our experienced Albuquerque car accident attorneys can help protect your rights to compensation and ensure your future medical expenses and pain and suffering is accounted for.  Call us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can help you recover what you are entitled to.  You only pay us if we win your case, and your consultation is with our attorneys is free.

Common Injuries in Albuquerque Car Accidents

The spine is meant to protect the spinal cord, and it is does a very good job at doing so.  However, the spine is also susceptible to certain motions such as whiplash motions.  This can case the spine to hyperextend and then snap back quickly.  This can cause the material in between the individual vertebrae, discs, to come out of alignment, become damaged, and put pressure on nerves radiating out of the spinal cord.  This can cause pain throughout the body.

Some common examples of cervical (neck) injuries as a result of an Albuquerque car accident includes the following:

  • Cervical disc injuries;
  • Cervical nerve injuries;
  • Cervical vertebrae fractures such as compression fractures;
  • Torn cervical muscles;
  • Cervical fusion;
  • Spinal Cord injuries;
  • Paraplegia;
  • Cervical discectomy;
  • Torn cervical ligaments;
  • Vein or artery damage;
  • Quadriplegia;
  • Torn cervical tendons;
  • Muscle strains;
  • Decreased range of motion;
  • Inability to turn head;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headaches; and
  • Other permanent and debilitating injuries.

Neck Injuries are Very Serious and Effect Everything You Do; Call us Today if you Have any Neck Injuries from Albuquerque Car Accidents!

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.

New Mexico Car Accidents with Emergency Vehicles: Who is Liable?

- Mark Caruso

When First Responders Fail to Use Reasonable Care, They Can be Liable for New Mexico Car Accidents Causing Personal Injuries

We all know that when we see an emergency vehicle on the roadway with its flashing lights on or sirens on, we need to yield to the right of way.  And we also know that emergency vehicles get certain exceptions from complying with the vehicle and traffic law.  If we get into a collision with an emergency vehicle, we may immediately feel like this is our fault and we are the cause of the accident.  After all, aren’t we supposed to always yield to the right of way of an emergency vehicle?

Not always.  In fact, sometimes emergency vehicles can be the sole cause of a New Mexico car accident.  If you or a loved one have been injured in a New Mexico car accident caused by an emergency vehicle, do not guess whether it was or was not your fault—call our experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to learn how we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries by dialing (505) 883-5000.  Emergency responders must follow certain laws in able to use the exceptions to the vehicle and traffic law.  When they fail to do this, it can result in very serious car accidents and personal injuries to victims.

Emergency Vehicles Needs to Use Either Flashing Lights or a Siren to Get Us to Yield to Their Right of Way

We know that we are supposed to yield to emergency vehicles.  This is both common sense and under NM Stat. Section 66-7-332 which requires under subdivision (A) “[u]pon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle displaying flashing emergency lights or when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield to the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed except when otherwise directed by a police officer.”

The important part of this law is that the emergency vehicle must be using either its lights or sirens for us to yield.  If the emergency vehicle is not using either, then we do not have to legally yield.  However, sometimes emergency vehicles still proceed as if we all have to still yield to them without their lights or sirens on.  This can result in serious New Mexico car accident and whoever is at fault—including an emergency vehicle—will be liable for the victim’s injuries.

Emergency Vehicles Need BOTH a Flashing Light and Siren to Run Red Lights or Stop Signs and to Exceed the Speed Limit

Some of the the common traffic laws that we know emergency vehicles can violate are red lights or stop signs and the speed limit.  Indeed, NM Stat. 66-7-6 (B) permit “[t]he driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may: 2) proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as necessary for safe operation; 3) exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property . . . .”

Further, subdivision (C) requires that an authorized emergency vehicle may only violate these two sets of traffic laws only when it “sounds an audible signal by bell, siren or exhaust whistle as reasonably necessary when the vehicle is equipped with at least one lighted lamp displaying a red light visible . . . .”  Moreover, subdivision (d) provides that “[t]his section does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons nor does it protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.”

There are several important points to note.  First, an emergency vehicle running a red light or stop sign must still slow down as necessary to go through the light safely.  Second, an emergency vehicle may only exceed the speed limit when the driver can still do so safely in a manner that does not endanger life or property such as losing control or not being able to stop or maneuver properly.

Third, an emergency vehicle MUST have both its lights and siren on in order to violate the traffic law.  This is to provide both an audible and visual cue to other drivers.  The failure of having both is dangerous and does not allow an emergency vehicle to break the law.  Fourth and finally, an emergency vehicle—even if both the lights and siren are on—still must act in a way that is not reckless.

If Your Have Been Injured By an Emergency Vehicle, CALL US TODAY!

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.