18 Wheeler Wrecks Caused by Snow and Ice Could be a FMCSA Regulatory Violation
Snow and ice is one of the worst enemies of safe driving. This is particularly true on highways or interstates. And this even more poignant when large commercial trucks like big rigs, 18 wheelers, semi tractors, and other box trucks are involved. It all boils down to science. Vehicles need friction to stop. The more force and momentum a vehicle has, the more friction that is required to stop it. The faster and heavier a vehicle is, the more force and momentum it will generate and those the more friction needed. Snow and ice reduce the coefficient of friction, which magnifies the amount of friction that is needed to stop a vehicle.
Thus, large box trucks hauling cargo on intestates like I-10, I-25, or I-40 will require a lot of friction to stop. When snow and ice is on the roadway, that distance may triple. This means that a truck driver must be evermore attentive and guard against the possibility of a serious collision due to rear ending another vehicle. This is because rear-end collisions can result in serious and catastrophic personal injuries or wrongful death.
Liability: FMCSA Regulations Require Trucks to Slow Down or Stop on Snow or Ice
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted regulations which apply to all commercial vehicles on the roadways throughout the United States. This includes in New Mexico and on New Mexico's interstates. A violation of these regulations can be used to establish evidence of negligence by the truck driver or the trucking company in causing the subject collision.
Under 49 CFR section 392.14, a truck driver must exercise "extreme caution" when hazardous conditions such as snow, ice, or sleet "adversely affect visibility or traction" on a roadway. This means that a large commercial vehicle must reduce speed or, "[i]f conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safety operated."
Therefore, if snow and ice has made travel on a highway or interstate dangerous for a large semi tractor trailer, the truck must slow or stop. This means that if an 18 wheeler collision occurs, it is likely that the crash is caused by a FMCSA violation.
In addition, New Mexico's statutory law requires that vehicles control their speed, even below the speed limit, if the weather conditions warrant such. New Mexico's common law, or judge-made law, also require that motorist slow their speed with the weather conditions due to visibility or inability to stop or slow.
Victims Involved in New Mexico Trucking Accidents on Snow and Ice Should Call the NM Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, call the experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.