Semi-Truck Laws In New Mexico
Just like any car accident, semi-truck accidents can occur in many different ways, but more times than not, these accidents can end in devastation. That’s why it’s so critical to understand the specific laws that apply to commercial carriers, big rigs, and semi-trucks helps to identify the issues and preserve the case. Both Federal and State laws regulate trucking companies and semi-truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates drivers of commercial motor vehicles and applies to all vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating in excess of 10,000 pounds. Although there are strict semi-truck rules and regulations in New Mexico, there are still countless big rig accidents that could have and should have been avoided.
What Is A Commercial Vehicle?
The various laws within the Code of Federal Regulations apply to commercial motor vehicles. Commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) are not simply defined by their size or role on the road, rather there is a complex set of criteria that distinguish CMV’s from other motorized vehicles.
If any of the following five criteria are satisfied, then a vehicle is deemed to be a CMV and must abide by rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- the vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds;
- the vehicle and its cargo way more than 10,000 pounds;
- the vehicle is designed or used to carry 16 or more passengers without charging compensation;
- the vehicle is designed or used to carry nine or more paying passengers;
- the vehicle is used for commerce and is transporting hazardous materials.
6 Semi Truck Driver Regulations
Not just anyone can drive a commercial vehicle. Semi-truck drivers are required to have certain qualifications and comply with federal regulations in order to be able to legally operate a semi-truck. Federal regulations require truck drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license or CDL. The New Mexico DMV has detailed information on New Mexico CDL testing requirements and has the Commercial Driver’s License Manual. After a driver has obtained their CDL and starts driving, there are many other regulations that they must then follow:
A driver is required to produce a “Driver Vehicle Examination Report” at the end of each workday. A driver must also properly document his hours of service. Documentation is crucial in the trucking industry, any time there is missing or lacking documentation, the driver and trucking company may be at fault.
Before a truck driver begins on their route, a driver is required by federal regulation to check and be satisfied that equipment and parts are in good working order. Although equipment malfunction can be a third-party liability, the driver still has the responsibility to ensure all aspects of their vehicle are in order before departing.
3. Basic Operation
A driver must report to his employer any and all traffic violations. If a truck driver disregards any traffic infractions or incidents on the road, it not only leaves them at fault but their company as well.
4. Cargo Securement
A driver is responsible for ensuring that he is not transporting an overload, which can be very dangerous and may result in serious accidents. Overload truck accidents are common and are completely avoidable. Cargo securement is a critical factor for all commercial vehicles, when this rule is disregarded, it can jeopardize the safety of others on the road.
5. Fatigue and Truck Driver Hours of Service Rules
One of the most controversial issues for truck drivers and those traveling on the road around them is driver fatigue. It’s no secret that truck drivers are on the road for extended periods of time. This is why a new semi-truck regulation took effect in July of 2013 mandating that a truck driver can only operate the vehicle for 11 hours only after the truck driver has spent 10 consecutive hours off duty.
6. Texting and Driving
The FMCSA prohibits texting and driving. This law applies to both truck drivers and bus drivers carrying a CDL. Texting and driving have become a massive problem in our country over the last decade, and truck drivers are no exception.
Contact An Albuquerque Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident caused by a truck driver’s violation of federal rules and regulations, you may have a case. A dedicated New Mexico truck accident attorney at Garcia Legal can examine the details of your accident and begin building a plan to maximize your potential compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for losses related to medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and property damage. Call us today for a risk-free consultation.