Rear Impact Trucking Accidents
Interstate 40 and Interstate 25 are major trucking corridors in and through New Mexico. Semi trucks and big rigs from across the country, Canada, and Mexico pass through Albuquerque and the Big-I. Tractor-trailers are the Goliaths of our roadways and the people who drive them are expected to be professional drivers. These professional truckers have been, or should have been, trained to know more and do more when it comes to safe driving and the safe operation of a 20 ton missile flying down the highway. We don't live in an ideal world - some professional drivers are not reasonable and careful and some trucking companies don't properly train and supervise their drivers. Sometimes truckers don't follow the rules, don't keep a proper lookout, don't scan ahead, don't observe their speed, don't pay attention, and they crash into the rear or backend of another 18-wheeler or passenger car or truck. Some trucking companies push commercial motor vehicle drivers to make mistakes by putting profits over safety and people. Albuquerque personal injury attorney Matthew Vance sues negligent professional drivers and trucking companies when they hurt others because of a failure to keep a proper lookout, failure to scan ahead 12 to 15 seconds, failure to maintain a safe distance, or other failure to exercise reasonable care with regard to the space ahead of their big rig. If you or a loved one have been rear-ended by a semi, call lawyer Matt Vance or contact us at the Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C.
We have handled rear-end trucking cases before. See a sample complaint here.We hold negligent professional drivers and trucking companies responsible and accountable one case at a time.
Truckers, including long-haul drivers, are not just any drivers on the roadway. They are professional drivers. It takes special training, knowledge, and skill to be a professional driver. It takes a special driver's license – a commercial driver's license, or CDL. With the power of the CDL comes responsibility.
As a professional driver, a tractor-trailer driver is required by Federal law to have specialized knowledge and skill related to the operation of a large, heavy commercial motor vehicle on the public roads and highways (FMCSR §383.110). Trucking or transport companies are equally responsible to ensure all state and federal regulations are complied with. (FMCSR §390.3). To the extent a trucker is supposed to know something in order to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle, so too must his bosses at the trucking company know it and make sure the truck driver knows it. (FMCSR 390.3). A motor carrier is also responsible for ensuring, on an ongoing basis, that its commercial motor vehicle operator has the necessary knowledge and skill to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle down a public highway. (FMCSR §391.11(b)(3)).A big rig operator must know how to drive a commercial motor vehicle within minimum safe standards.
Among other things, a professional driver has to know the importance of a proper visual search, seeing ahead, and to the sides. (FMCSR 383.110(7). A professional driver must look ahead. (2.4.1 CDL Manual). A good driver will look at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead, which means at least a quarter mile at highway speeds. (2.4.1 CDL Manual). A professional driver should look for vehicles coming into the highway or into the trucker’s lane. (2.4.1 CDL Manual).
A semi driver has to know the ins and outs of speed management; speed and stopping distance, speed and visibility, speed and traffic flow. (FMCSR 383.110(9)). A safe truck driver must adjust their speed based on driving conditions. (2.6 CDL Manual). A safe truck driver should always be able to stop in the distance they can see ahead. (2.6.4 CDL Manual).
A professional driver has to know about space management – managing the space around their vehicle. (FMCSR 383.110(10)). Of all the space around the vehicle, it is the area ahead of the vehicle – the space you are driving into – that is the most important. (2.6 CDL Manual).
These standards are of the minimum a truck driver must know and practice in order to keep you and other drivers on the road safe. When truck drivers fail to meet even these minimum safe standards, trucking accidents can happen and people can be seriously injured.A CMV operator has to be a defensive driver and know about special safety measures related to other drivers, even impaired or distracted drivers, to avoid rear-ending someone.
Often times a trucker or trucking company will attempt to shift blame to the passenger car driver for their driving. A common excuse is, "they pulled in front of me." This defense does not hold water. First, big rig drivers cannot be the big-bullies of the highways and interstates. They have to exercise caution, yield, and share the road like anyone else. More than that, because they are in massive tractor and trailer units, they have to be aware and on guard, especially for other smaller vehicles and their drivers, even as those passenger cars enter and exit the freeways and interstates. It almost never happens that it is all the passenger car driver's fault. A rear end collision by a commercial motor vehicle is almost always preventable.
Remember, a commercial motor vehicle driver is a professional driver. A CDL licensed driver is required to know about information on hazard perception and clues for recognizing a hazard. Other drivers can be a hazard that should be anticipated and guarded against – distracted drivers, confused drivers, slow drivers and even impaired drivers (2.8.3 CDL Manual). A professional truck driver has a duty to look for hazards, before they turn into emergencies, and plan a way out (2.8.4 CDL Manual). A semi driver has to know about when and how to make an emergency maneuver, including evasive steering, emergency stop, and off road recover. (CDL Manual). These are the must meet minimum standards to safely control their vehicle and the space around it.
Rear-end collisions are almost always preventable. A safe commercial motor vehicle follows the law and regulations in place, both through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the New Mexico Department of Transportation Regulations. A safe trucker must demonstrate the minimum knowledge and skill required to safely operate a CMV, including paying attention, scanning ahead, anticipating and guarding against hazards. When a professional driver does these things and receives the training and safety support from the company that he or she works for, then rear impact collisions are less likely to happen.Protect your civil legal rights when you think a trucker or trucking company have broken the rules of the road and hurt you or a loved one.
If you or a loved one has been struck from behind or rear-ended by a truck driver, you need an attorney that knows trucking cases. You should consult an attorney that understands the federal and New Mexico Department of Transportation regulations that apply to truckers and trucking companies. Albuquerque personal injury attorney Matthew Vance knows trucking cases and has been helping trucking accident and catastrophic injury victims for years throughout Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico. He represents injured individuals in Albuquerque, Gallup, Grants, Tucumcari, Lovington, Farmington, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and other cities across the state. Call us at (505) 242-6267 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. If we think we can help, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis, which means no attorney fees upfront and no attorney fees unless we make a recovery.