New Mexico’s Move Over Law May Prevent Some Accidents, But Could It Do More?

Distracted driving and drowsy driving are two of the leading causes of fatal New Mexico truck accidents. Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road and can become easily tired or distracted after a long shift. This creates a serious danger not just for other motorists, but also for those who routinely find themselves working along the edge of the road.

In 1996, New Mexico lawmakers passed the first version of the state’s “Move Over” law, which was designed to protect emergency workers from the hazards of routinely working near the road’s edge. At the time, lawmakers noticed an increase in New Mexico roadside traffic accidents, especially those involving police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel.

Thus, under New Mexico Statutes Section 66-7-332, a motorist who is approaching a stationary “authorized emergency vehicle” from behind must take certain precautions when passing the vehicle. Specifically, the passing motorist must change lanes as to not drive in the lane immediately adjacent to the lane in which the emergency vehicle is stopped. The driver must also slow down to a “reasonable and prudent” speed and proceed with caution.

Of course, on some smaller New Mexico roads, it will not be possible to clear the lane adjacent to the emergency vehicle. If that is the case, or if it is unsafe to change lanes given the circumstances, then the motorist must slow down to a “reasonable and prudent” speed, proceed with caution, and be prepared to stop. Although many types of workers spend a significant amount of time alongside New Mexico roads and highways, the statute applies only to police and fire vehicles, as well as tow trucks.

At the time New Mexico’s move over law was enacted, it was similar to the move over laws in other states. However, since that time other states have expanded the protections of their move over laws to include other types of roadside workers. For example, earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers passed an updated version of the state’s move over law.

According to a recent news report covering the new legislation, the law now protects emergency workers as well as transportation, service and utility vehicles, as well as waste and recycling trucks. This more accurately addresses the daily dangers that any worker faces when working on or near the road’s shoulder.

Have You Sustained an Injury in a New Mexico Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated New Mexico personal injury lawyers at the Fine Law Firm have decades of experience handling all types of personal injury claims, including those arising from New Mexico roadside truck accidents. We offer free consultations to all accident victims with no obligation to continue forward with your case. To learn more, call 505-889-FINE to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Permits Plaintiff’s Negligent Entrustment Claim to Proceed Against Employer, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 30, 2018.

Court Determines Power Company Is Not Liable for Failing to Provide Enough Light to Safely Illuminate Roadway, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2018.