The Dangers Presented by Unauthorized Use of Emergency Turnouts on Divided Highways

A violent accident that occurred recently in Maine demonstrates the tragic consequences that can occur when an unauthorized vehicle uses the turnouts that are built into divided highways for the use of law enforcement and other authorized agencies during emergencies or road construction. According to a local news report discussing the crash, a semi-truck driver attempted to use an authorized vehicle turnout to perform a U-turn on a state highway and caused an accident when an SUV behind the semi lost control while trying to avoid a collision with the semi-truck. The driver of the SUV was seriously injured after he swerved to avoid the tractor-trailer and lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway and rolled several times, leaving the driver in critical condition from injuries sustained in the crash.

The Semi-Truck Driver Faces Criminal Charges

According to the report, the driver of the semi-truck is facing criminal charges for his role in the accident and for unauthorized use of the vehicle turnout. Although the semi-truck was not hit by the SUV, it was the driver’s decision to slow down and attempt an illegal U-turn that resulted in the tragic crash. Although vehicle turnouts are commonly used by authorized vehicles on highways and interstates, unauthorized vehicles are not permitted to use them to turn around, and their drivers could face civil and criminal sanctions for an accident they cause.

Civil Liability for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle Turnout

In addition to the criminal penalties that the truck driver may face for his role in last month’s crash, he may also be subject to civil liability for the injuries and property damage suffered by the driver of the SUV involved in the crash. All drivers are required to follow traffic laws while operating their vehicles on public roads, and commercial vehicle operators are held to a heightened standard if they violate a state or local law and cause injuries to another driver. Since the truck driver violated the law by using the vehicle turnout to perform a U-turn without authorization, he could be held accountable for injuries suffered by the driver of the SUV in the crash that followed. If the semi-truck driver had turned around properly by exiting the highway and re-entering in the opposite direction, as required by law, the accident could have been prevented.

New Mexico Truck Accident Liability and Negligence Per Se

Drivers who are injured in a New Mexico semi-truck accident will often seek damages from the semi-truck driver through a New Mexico truck accident lawsuit. For an injured party to collect damages from a truck driver, they must prove that the defendant operated their vehicle in a negligent manner by failing to exercise due care and contributing to the cause or severity of an accident. The requirement for accident plaintiffs to prove that a truck driver acted with negligence may be fulfilled more easily if the plaintiff can demonstrate that the defendant violated a traffic law that existed to prevent the type of accident that occurred. A plaintiff can make the case that a defendant has committed negligence as a matter of law if it can be proven that the defendant was violating such a law when the accident occurred, and the plaintiff was injured as a result. Proving negligence per se can make the plaintiff’s case for damages stronger in cases that involve the unauthorized use of a vehicle turnaround by a defendant in a commercial vehicle.

New Mexico Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a semi-truck or another large commercial vehicle, you have the right to hold the other driver accountable for their negligence that resulted in your injuries. The experienced New Mexico semi-truck accident attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can help you prove that the other driver should be held accountable for your loss, and our professional attorneys and staff will carefully handle your case to give you a strong chance of recovering the compensation that you deserve. Contact the Fine Law Firm today at (585) 989-3463 or sign up online to schedule a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Determinations of Fault in New Mexico Truck Accidents, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016.

Federal Court Interprets Insurance Contract in Favor of Insurance Company, Limiting Settlement Amount, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 6, 2016.