New Mexico Fatal Semi Tractor Trailer Crash on I-40 in McKinley County: Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer Provides Initial Impressions of McKinley County Crash
According to multiple news outlets, at least eight people have died in a horrific tractor trailer head-on collision on I-40 in McKinley County, New Mexico. The McKinley County crash involved a semi tractor trailer and a large Greyhound bus carrying almost 50 people. The bus was traveling to Los Angeles, California and stopped in Albuquerque prior to the crash. The big rig crash occurred today, August 31, 2018, at around 12:30 PM on the northwestern portion of Interstate 40. The initial police reports are indicating that the semi tractor trailer was traveling eastbound and blew a tire. The driver lost control of the box truck, crossed the centerline, and struck the westbound bus head on. Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer explains several legal issues relevant to the crash which victims should know.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in this subject accident or a similar one, please call the NM Truck Accident Attorneys immediately by dialing (505) 883-5000. We are licensed in California and New Mexico, and can travel to you and your family in California, New Mexico, or elsewhere to discuss your case at no cost to you. We also speak Spanish and have a trucking accident expert on standby to begin an immediate investigation. With our proven track record of experience, including several multiple million dollar lawsuits noted below, we can and will fight for the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.
What Laws Apply in a Trucking Crash like this One?
The first question many victims of an interstate trucking accident may ask is what law applies to their case. This is usually because big rig wrecks on interstates involve individuals or businesses from multiple states. Here, the bus was traveling from Missouri to California and crashed in New Mexico. The situs of the accident (location) is usually the first place for venue, which would be New Mexico. This means New Mexico common law (judge-made law) and statutory law (legislatively-made law) would apply.
But it is well-recognized that trucking is an interstate business. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency which enacted regulations governing the conduct of commercial vehicles such as the semi tractor trailer involved in this fatal New Mexico trucking wreck. These regulations apply in every state, and set minimum standards of conduct that states can build on.
Here at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys, our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer is licensed in New Mexico and California, as well as having significant experience in handling matters involving FMCSA regulations which may apply in serious New Mexico 18 wheeler wrecks such as this one.
Law on Tire Blowouts: FMCSA Regulations May be Violated
The FMCSA regulations govern equipment such as tires and wheels. When a tire blows out, the first place to investigate is whether the tire was defective, improperly maintained, and whether the truck driver or trucking company knew or should have known about such defect. Under the FMCSA regulations, 49 CFR section 393.75 (a)provides that "[n]o motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that-
- Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall,
- Has any tread or sidewall separation,
- Is flat or has an audible leak, or
- Has a cut to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed."
Additionally, the other subdivisions provide minimum tread requirements of the trucks. These treads can easily be evaluated by an expert to assess whether the trucking company had a sufficient and FMCSA-compliant tread. Here at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys, we utilize a Department of Transportation certified expert accident reconstructionist that we can immediately get at the site and to the subject vehicles to inspect the damage and causes of the crash. Our expert will take photographs and begin interviewing witnesses right away.
Liability on the Truck Driver for Tire Blowouts like the Mckinley County Crash
Not only can the trucking company be liable for a tire blowout, but the truck driver may also be negligent and violate FMCSA regulations. For instance, pursuant to 49 CFR section 392.7 (a), "[n]o commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that following parts and accessories are in good working order . . . tires." Under subdivision (b), the truck drivers must also check the "wheels, rims, lugs, tires" before they go onto the road.
Therefore, if the truck driver has fails to perform these inspections and the tires and wheels are clearly defective, the truck driver may be liable for a tire blowout. This further implicates the trucking company under the theory of respondent superior which makes the employer responsible for the employee's actions in a trucking crash.
Head On Collisions in New Mexico: Crossing the Center Line
Since the initial reports are that the semi tractor trailer crossed the center line, New Mexico law allows applies. Under New Mexico Stat. 66-7-308, "[u]pon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway and where practicable, entirely to the right of the center thereof[.]" If a large commercial truck crosses the center line, it may automatically be liable for a serious trucking crash under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. This helps establish liability for a personal injury victim.
Victims of a Serious Big Rig Wreck Such as in the McKinley County Crash Should Call our Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer
Here at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys, our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer has handled many of the most catastrophic and fatal 18 wheeler wrecks and box truck accidents, including on Interstate 40. Just since 2016, here are some of our results from our clients in trucking crashes:
- Jury verdict of $5.5 million against FedEx in a wrongful death tractor-trailer crash on I-40;
- $12 million settlement in I-40 crash in eastern New Mexico;
- $8.7 million settlement on I-25 in Central NM;
- $4.7 million settlement in southeastern NM;
- $4.5 million settlement on I-10 in southwest New Mexico;
- $1.7 million settlement on I-25 in northern NM; and
- Many other results available on our results page available here and on our testimonial page here.
Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer will come to California or elsewhere to discuss your case FOR FREE. We speak Spanish and are able to send out investigators promptly before the insurance carrier can hide evidence. Call the NM Truck Accident Attorneys by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can help. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.