Truck accidents involving vehicles carrying oil and natural gas on New Mexico Highway 285 have become increasingly common in recent years, according to a recent news story. But why are these accidents happening? What can be done to address this crisis? And what should you do if you’re involved in a collision caused by one of these large, commercial trucks? A New Mexico truck accident lawyer at Szantho Law Firm, PC discusses these questions.
Where truck accidents happen on New Mexico Highway 285
KOB News 4 recently aired a report about the disturbing number of accidents on Highway 285 in southeast New Mexico involving commercial trucks hauling oil, natural gas and other items associated with such work, including large quantities of sand and water.
“It's the highway of death,” truck driver Robert Moore told KOB News 4.
In 2017, Eddy County police responded to 115 motor vehicle accidents on this two-lane highway connecting New Mexico with Texas, according to Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage. The year before, New Mexico State Police responded to 41 accidents on Highways 285 and 128, according to KOB News 4.
Statewide, there were 405 traffic fatalities in 2016 and 379 fatalities in 2017, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those accidents, 40 fatalities in 2016 and 70 fatalities in 2017 involved large trucks in New Mexico.
Why truck accidents happen here
On New Mexico Highway 285, nearly half of all motor vehicle accidents were caused by truck drivers, according to accident records obtained by KOB News 4. The causes listed on such accident reports include some of the most common causes of truck accidents in general. These include:
- Speeding truck drivers
- Poorly maintained trucks (specifically, truck tire blowouts)
- Distracted truck drivers
The same news report also noted that there’s no truck weigh station on Highway 285 near the New Mexico – Texas border. As a result, many trucks using this two-lane highway are not subject to inspection. Truck drivers who do stop at such checkpoints must normally have their truck weighed and truck maintenance records reviewed. This includes a review of the truck driver’s hours of service (HOS) log to make sure the driver didn’t exceed mandatory driving times, a common problem associated with asleep at the wheel truck accidents.
What you should do if you’re involved in a truck accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident on Highway 285 in New Mexico, it’s important to take the following steps as soon as possible after your crash. We recommend doing the following:
- Seek medical attention – Even if you feel fine, you could have a potentially fatal internal injury. If your accident happened a few days ago, go right away. Your life could be at risk.
- Call the police – Ask them to respond to your accident. Having a copy of the accident report can be critical when it comes to obtaining financial compensation for your crash.
- Get the facts – This includes making sure you get the full name, address and driver’s license information from the truck driver. Also get the name of the trucking company the driver works for, the company’s address and phone number.
- Take pictures – If you can safely do so, take photographs of your accident, the exact spot on Highway 285 where your crash occurred, any skid marks on the road, the position of the vehicles after the crash and more.
- Write it down – While your memories are fresh, write down exactly what happened. What were you doing right before the crash? What was the truck doing? What time of day was it? What was the weather like? Details matter.
- Contact us – The sooner you talk to an attorney at our law firm, the sooner we can get straight to work on your case.
You’ve been in a serious accident on New Mexico Highway 285 caused by a commercial truck driver. Take your crash seriously right from the start. Contact our law firm and schedule a free evaluation today with a truck accident attorney who cares.