A 58-year-old NMDOT worker was killed on Dec. 6 just north of Artesia when a 2007 Peterbilt commercial truck rear-ended the 2020 NMDOT Chevy pickup she was driving.
The truck accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. in the right lane of southbound U.S. Hwy. 285 near milepost 82. The Peterbilt truck also forced the 2020 Chevy into another NMDOT truck in front of it. Two other NMDOT workers were injured. The driver of the Peterbilt truck was not hurt.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The NMDOT workers were placing reflectors on a newly resurfaced stretch of the highway when the collision occurred. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.
"I’m saddened by this tragedy. My officers have a close working relationship with NMDOT, and our thoughts go out to the entire NMDOT family” said Tim Johnson, Chief of the New Mexico State Police. “NMDOT crews place their lives on the line every day while working to keep the roads in New Mexico a safe place for everyone traveling our roads.”
New Mexico’s Move Over Law
New Mexico, and all other states in the country, has a Move Over Law requiring vehicles to change lanes (or slow down if changing lanes is not safe) when approaching disabled motorists or emergency and roadside vehicles with flashing lights.
Emergency and roadside vehicles include the following:
- Highway Patrol
- Medical Examiners
- Tow Trucks
- National Guard
New Mexico passed its first version of the law in 1996. Drivers who do not comply with the Move Over Law in the state could face a $117 fine.
Deadly Truck Accidents
The tragic death of this NMDOT worker is only one of many fatalities in the state this year involving large trucks.
Other deadly New Mexico truck accidents in the last six months:
- Two people died in a crash with a semi-truck and two other vehicles on Dec. 4 near Magdalena.
- One person died in an accident on I-40 involving a semi-truck rollover On Nov. 26.
- Two people were killed on Sept. 1 near Lordsburg in a semi rollover accident.
- Two trucks were involved in a head-on collision on Aug. 19 outside of Laguna, killing one man.
- A man died on July 20 after his semi-truck was involved in an accident involving two other semi-trucks in Las Cruces.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2019. Large trucks were in 10% of all fatal vehicle accidents. In that same year, 118,000 large-truck accidents resulted in an injury.
Accidents involving large trucks often are caused by the truck driver:
- Driving While Drowsy
- Speeding and Tailgating
- Improper Lane Changes
- Driving While Distracted
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
- Improper Vehicle Maintenance
- Unsecured Loads
Statistics show how dangerous heavy trucks can be. The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported that heavy trucks are involved in 16% of crash fatalities but only 5.5% of total vehicle accidents. October and December are the deadliest months. About 80% of the accidents occur on a weekday.
Seek Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
If you were injured in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligence, bring on legal counsel who will fight for fair compensation.
Damages that may be available to truck accident victims:
- Economic Damages: Medical bills, lost wages, prescription costs, physical therapy, and more
- Non-Economic Damages: Pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and more
- Punitive Damages: Punishing someone for being grossly negligent
We also advocate for the loved ones of those killed. Depending on the circumstances, there could be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. There is a four-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims.
At Crow Law Firm, our attorney has devoted 100% of his practice to litigation with nearly 20 years of experience fighting for the injured in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed in a truck accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. Use our online contact form or call (575) 222-2702.