Disabled Semi-Trucks Pose Serious Dangers for New Mexico Drivers
At the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane, P.A., our truck accident attorneys in Las Cruces are always on the lookout for dangers that affect our New Mexico residents and use other driver’s negligence — especially truck drivers who are operating a large vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds — as tools and resources for building our cases.
This provides our clients with access to customized legal strategies to pursue the best outcomes for their unique injury circumstances, so they can get their lives back on track.
One dangerous traffic scenario that consistently demands our attention is the dangers that disabled semi-trucks pose to other motorists on our roadways.
First, it can be difficult for other drivers to see any vehicle stopped on the side of the road, especially at night or in poorly lit areas. Adding to that danger, these large vehicles are often unable to stop in a safe place — fully on the shoulder of any sized road — without their cab or trailer protruding onto the roadway.
Moreover, if a semi-truck is parked on the shoulder of a curving road, other motorists are going to have an exceedingly difficult time seeing the vehicle, or the driver, which can cause a significant accident without notice.
So, why do semi-trucks stop in such dangerous places? The reality is, they are not supposed to unless it is an absolute emergency. Even then, they must follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of other motorists.
Are There Laws Prohibiting Semi-Trucks from Parking on the Shoulder of Roads and Highways?
Both state and federal laws prohibit semi-truck drivers from stopping on the side of the road for anything other than a traffic stop or mechanical issue that leaves the truck disabled.
Even then, there are stringent rules about the safety precautions the driver must take to warn other motorists of their position to protect them from an accident.
When parked on the shoulder for one of these two reasons, the truck driver must:
- Immediately turn on the trailer’s hazard warning signal flashers
- Keep the vehicle’s flashers on until placing approved warning devices — which may include three bi-directional emergency reflective triangles, red flags, fuses, and liquid-burning flares — on the traffic side of the road, which must occur as soon as possible, but no later than ten minutes after stopping on the shoulder
- Place approved warning devices in the mandated locations, so other motorists can see the danger from all angles, including certain distances from curves or obstructions
The truck driver must keep the warning devices in place until the commercial vehicle can leave the shoulder.
Failure to fulfill any of these requirements or other standard of care requirements can lead to liability for injuries or death caused by a stopped semi-truck in New Mexico.
Unfortunately, some truck drivers often fail to follow protocol, and some truck drivers are even using the shoulder of the road to get rest, instead of for emergencies, which violates several Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines and may constitute negligence by the truck driver, trucking company, or another third-party.
Have You Been Hurt in a Collision Caused by a Semi-Truck Parked on the Shoulder of Our New Mexico Roadways?
If you have been hurt in a truck accident in New Mexico, contact our Dona Ana County 18-wheeler collision lawyers at the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane by calling (575) 222-0472 to schedule a free consultation, so we can review the circumstances of your 18-wheeler collision and begin building your case for success.