Dust Storms Lower Visibility and Require Vehicles to Slow Down or Stop, So When a Truck Rear Ends a Passenger Vehicle in a Dust Storm that is Negligent
Dust storms have been in the news a lot lately, particularly the large haboob that blanketed a large area of Arizona. New Mexico also gets a lot of dust storms which blanket large areas of our state, including on highways and interstates. All dust storms lower the visibility of drivers on the roadway and make it more difficult to see. The heavier and worse the dust storm, the more difficult it will be to see. Heavy dust storms can also lower traction on the road and make it more difficult to stop. This combination of decreased visibility and traction is a recipe for rear end collisions.
One ingredient to serious rear end collisions during dust storm is a large commercial vehicle, like a tractor trailer, tanker, semi, 18-wheeler, flatbed, or other big rig. These large trucks on interstate and highways and be like a blind battering ram during dust storms. This is why all motorists, especially drivers of large commercial trucks, need to slow down or discontinue driving until the dust storm has passed and it is safe to proceed. Otherwise the large trucks will kill someone.
Horrific Accident Caused by Gross Negligence
And a few years ago they did. The Caruso Law Offices, P.C. represents the family of a deceased man who was killed during an ongoing dust storm. He and several other vehicles slowed down during the dust storm as reasonable under the circumstances—particularly given the heavy dust storm.
Despite low visibility and not being able to see well, three large commercial vehicles—including a tanker with flammable liquids—plowed forward at full speed. The large commercial trucks rear ended a passenger vehicle and blocked the entire highway. Instead of putting on their emergency flashers on, the large commercial trucks barricaded the highway and created a pileup. The tanker driving at full speed although not being able to see crashed into the pileup and exploded. This resulted in a massive fire, which killed our client and six other passengers. None of the truck drivers were injured.
So Many Things Wrong, So Little Regard for Human Life
The matter is now at trial in front of a jury as the truck drivers maintain they did nothing wrong. Yet, there is a laundry list of things they did wrong, which include:
- failing to comply with federal regulations to slow down in dust storms;
- failing to comply with federal regulations to use their emergency flashers;
- not employing the Smith System of Defensive Driving;
- forgetting their training and skill tests to get their CDL; and
- for not controlling their speed during a weather condition so as to operate their vehicle safely.
Seven people could easily have been saved if the large commercial trucks followed even half of these regulations and laws. But even more basically, these commercial trucks rear ended other vehicles which is almost always negligence per se.
New Mexico Law Finds Motorists Who Rear End Other Vehicles Are Almost Always Negligent Per Se For Violating Statutory Law
It is black letter and crystal clear law that a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle closer than is safe. This law is applicable throughout the United States, and perhaps even the world. This is codified in New Mexico Law, and quite pointedly provides under NM Stat Section 66-7-318 that “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle 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 and the condition of the highway.”
Therefore, when a large commercial truck causes a New Mexico trucking accident by following too closely in a dust storm, there will almost always be an automatic finding of negligence under the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine finds a defendant liable for violating a vehicle and traffic law if the law is meant to protect from a certain harm (motor vehicle accident injuries) and meant to protect a certain class of persons (other motorists on the roadway). Both of these principles clearly apply, and any injuries caused by a rear end car accident are entitled to compensation.
Call Our New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorneys Today if you Have Been Hurt by a Negligence Truck Driver!
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.