New Mexico Big Rig Accidents
Big rigs, also known as semi-trucks, are among the largest and heaviest type of vehicles on our roadways. They are necessary for transporting goods across the state, but they can also be dangerous. The New Mexico Department of Transportation, NMDOT, provides annual traffic crash reports. These reports provide data about all types of accidents in NM including those involving large trucks. In 2015, an accident involving a large truck occurred on average every 4 hours here.
New Mexico Crash Data
In 2015, the most current data available, there were 2,443 heavy trucks involved in accidents. This number represents 2.9% of all those reported. Of that number, 49 vehicle crashes, about 10.7%, were fatal. The percentage of fatalities was disproportionately higher in large truck mishaps than in those involving passenger vehicles.
There are a number of factors that contribute to fatalities on the road. The most common contributing causes in 2015 included:
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Driver Inattention
Each day in the state there are about 124 crashes of all types involving 316 people with 53 injuries and one fatality. Factors that contributed to crashes in general included driver inattention, failure to yield and tailgating. Mechanical defects and road conditions played relatively minor factors in most fatalities on the road. In all fatal crashes, the largest number took place on weekends, and the majority of crash fatalities occurred between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm.
A comparison over the five years from 2011 through 2015 show that accidents decreased slightly for two years and then rose again to a number higher than that of 2011. The number of accidents nationally rose as well during the same period; however, NM numbers are higher than those of the national average. When analyzed using the vehicle miles traveled, VMT, the fatality rate in the state is below the national average rate.
A study released by the American Trucking Associations, ATA, found that truck crashes are more likely to result in fatalities than those that occur only between passenger vehicles. The results found that although accidents with big rigs occur less frequently than other accidents, the fatality rate was slightly higher. Most injuries and deaths occurred to people outside the truck. The data shows that during the study period 3,380 deaths happened in crashes involving big rigs across the country. Of the fatalities, 76% were to those in other vehicles, 9% were to bicycle riders or pedestrians while only 15% occurred to truck occupants.