New Mexico Trial Highlights Requirement for Commercial Trucks to Slow Down in Dust Storms

- Mark Caruso

Federal Regulations Require Truck Drivers to SLOW DOWN in New Mexico Dust Storms

It would be very hard to operate a motor vehicle without being able to see where you are going.  In fact, sight is the most important sense required to drive a motor vehicle.  This is particularly true when the motor vehicle is a commercial truck such as an 18-wheeler, flatbed, tanker, tractor trailer, or other large truck.  And even more important when the large commercial truck is being driven on a highway or interstate at speeds above 55 MPH, 65 MPH, or even faster.  Vision is paramount to safety on these fast roadways.

This is why federal regulations require large commercial trucks to slow down or stop when visibility is limited in a dust storm.  The inability to see where a large commercial truck is going can be fatal if the truck continues to travel on the highway or interstate at full speed.  Especially when other motor vehicles slow down as reasonable under the circumstances given the limited visibility.  This is a recipe for a New Mexico trucking accident.  Unfortunately, this is what happened to the victim represented by the Caruso Law Offices, P.C.

Tragic Death Due to Negligent New Mexico Truck Drivers

Our client was traveling on Interstate 10 in a passenger vehicle when he entered into an ongoing dust storm.  He and several other passenger vehicles on the roadway slowed down as necessary in the limited visibility.  They proceeded in a slow, controlled, and safe manner.  However, three large commercial trucks did not slow down and continued to plow forward at full speed without being able to fully see where they were going.  This resulted in a rear end collision which blocked a portion of the roadway.  This caused a pileup accident involving the three trucks and three passenger vehicles, which resulted in an explosion and massive fire.

While the three truck drivers were able to walk away from the trucking accident, seven passengers—including the victim represented by the Caruso Law Offices, P.C.—burned to death in the fire.  Now, our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys are about to start the trial to protect the victim’s family and get them the compensation they desire for the loss of their breadwinner and loved one.  But had the truck drivers following the federal regulations, this accident never would have happened.

If Truck Drivers Followed Federal Regulations, This Accident Would Not Have Happened!

While most state laws are different and unique, and most trucking companies operate through multiple states even for just a simple or short delivery, there is an extensive matrix of federal trucking regulations which help unify the way large commercial trucks are to operate on roadways.  These regulations require trucking companies and truck drivers act a certain way and operate their massive vehicles in a certain way.

This includes slowing down or stopping in dust storms when the weather conditions are too extreme to continue traveling.  Under FMCSR section 392.14, which governs hazardous conditions requiring extreme caution, it provides that “[e]xtreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by . . . dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.”

A truck driver who fails to comply with this federal regulation will allow a victim to find evidence of negligence to help prove the case.  In addition to regulatory law, the common law (judge made law) also finds that a trucking company or truck driver who continues when visibility is limited by dust storms to also be negligent.  A finding of negligence allow the victim to recover compensation for his or her pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earnings, medical expenses, and for wrongful death.

Failing to Slow Down in a Dust Storm Can Result in the Death of Passenger Vehicle Occupants!

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced trucking 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.