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Motorists’ Obligation to Protect Law Enforcement When Driving in New Mexico

Posted in Firm News

As of 2012, all 50 states in the U.S. have some version of a Move Over Law that was enacted to make the roads safer for law enforcement and first responders. Move Over Laws were a response to the increasing number of workers, law enforcement, and first responders who have been injured or killed by a car when they were working on the side of the road. Evidently, in 2005, almost 400 workers were killed in what is termed “struck-by” accidents, when they were conducting roadwork. Additionally, the FBI has stated that law enforcement officers being struck on the side of the road is one of the major causes of law enforcement deaths.

In 2005, New Mexico implemented a Move Over Law, which applies to law enforcement, emergency vehicles, and first responders. The law mandates that drivers slow down and change lanes, as long as it is possible, to provide the individuals on the side of the road with ample room to safely conduct their business. New Mexico Law 66-7-332 explained that as soon as an individual approaches an authorized emergency vehicle that has flashing lights on, they must yield the right of way and drive to a position as close to the right-hand side of the road, edge, or curb as possible. Furthermore, they must remain there until they are directed by the police officer to move.

Moreover, if a driver approaches a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing lights, barring very specific extenuating circumstances, they must drive in a lane that is not adjacent to the stopped car and proceed with caution. If they cannot drive in an adjacent lane, they must decrease their speed, proceed with caution, and be prepared to stop. Importantly, this law still requires that the emergency vehicle driver abide by the duty of care to drive safely on the highway.

Officer Hit by Truck Driver While Investigating Other Crash

Earlier this month, a California Highway Patrol officer was hit by a large truck while he was investigating another two-car crash. Apparently, the officer was standing outside his vehicle in the early morning hours when a FedEx truck slammed into him. The officer suffered major injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital. One report indicates that the officer had his patrol lights on and was taking all necessary precautions during his investigations. Officers investigating this accident cited the state’s Move Over Law and explained that the FedEx driver should have moved over as soon as he saw the patrol lights. The accident is still in the very early stages of investigation, and police officials have not reported whether charges will be filed.

Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Trucking Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Mexico truck accident, it is important that you contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm. The Move Over Law is just one example of many laws that are designed to protect motorists and pedestrians, and it is important that you contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm to discuss what your specific rights are and what compensation you may be entitled to receive. If you are successful, you may be eligible for compensation that can cover your past and ongoing medical expenses that are related to the accident as well as possibly pain and suffering. Contact an attorney at Fine Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation at 800-640-6590.

More Blog Posts:

The Importance of the Pretrial Stages in New Mexico Civil Legal Proceedings, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2016.

Minibus Accident in France Claims 12 Lives, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.