Las Cruces Legal Blog

Are limousines safe to ride in?

If you are attending a special event in New Mexico, there is a chance a limousine is involved. These luxury vehicles hold larger groups of people and are popular for nights out and celebrations of all kinds. Unfortunately, not all limos meet, or are even required to meet, safety requirements like other vehicles are and this puts passengers at greater risk of injury or death in the case of an accident, fire or other emergency. 

According to NPR, a recent limousine accident resulted in the death of the driver, all 17 passengers and two pedestrians. Not only is this transportation crash the deadliest since 2009, it brings up inquiries about who is at fault. The intersection where the crash occurred is known for being dangerous, but there are also questions about the safety of the limo itself.

The risk of a crash while running late

There are many different reasons why drivers accidentally cause motor vehicle wrecks. Some may be careless, such as those who use their smartphone on the road. Other drivers cause accidents because they are intoxicated after drinking or using drugs. Even people who think of themselves as responsible drivers may find themselves in a position where they are driving dangerously, including those who are running late for work or an important appointment. If you ever find yourself short on time, be careful and avoid speeding or any other type of dangerous driving.

Whether an employee slept in and is worried about making it to work on time or someone fears that they will miss a very important meeting with a client, running late can be incredibly stressful. An accident can not only derail the meeting or work day but a driver's entire life. It is crucial to be mindful of the dangers that may come with rushing on the road, such as going over the speed limit, failing to stop at a sign or red light or switching lanes abruptly, among other examples of dangerous driving.  Some drivers who are running late are distracted, especially if they make calls or send texts to explain their delay.

Staying safe on the road with semitrucks

In recent news, a semi truck crashed into a greyhound bus on an interstate, which left eight individuals dead. Semi trucks (also known as 18 wheelers, big rigs or tractor trailers) are notorious for causing fatalities in the event of a crash due to the size and weight of the vehicle, as well as that these crashes often occur at high speeds.

Many individuals do not realize that there are different driving techniques to employ when driving next to a semi truck. In order to avoid a deadly accident, it is beneficial to follow safe driving practices for sharing the road with semi trucks as well as educate yourself on the differences between a semi truck and a regular car.

Understanding common risk factors in cases of elder abuse

As a person ages and recognizes the need to ask other people for help, he or she is met with the difficulties of allowing other people to intervene and help manage personal needs. Often, a healthy relationship between a vulnerable elderly person and his or her caretaker, is developed over time and with open lines of communication. However, there are plenty of elderly people in New Mexico who for one reason or another, may be the victim of elder abuse. 

Elder abuse can take on a variety of forms including sexual, financial, mental and emotional, and physical. Families who wish to protect their loved ones and mitigate questionable behavior before it creates a danger for their loved ones, should become educated on the signs and symptoms that indicate that their loved ones may be mistreated by their caregiver. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, risk factors that may put an elderly person in a more vulnerable position to be abused include gender, race, his or her personality characteristics and the nature of the relationship he or she has with the person who has been designated as the caregiver. Research suggests that screening potential caregivers may be a viable way to reduce the risk of abuse occurring by uncovering questionable behavior in the person's past. 

Do not let kids interfere with safe driving

Distracted driving is a huge issue in New Mexico, but changing music, putting on makeup and even cell phone use are not the biggest causes. It turns out that driving with kids in the car is actually riskier than many of the other talked-about distractions. If you are a parent this probably does not surprise you. If you have an infant or child in the car, make sure to follow certain safety protocols to decrease the chance of getting in an accident.

According to Parents.com, around 80% of all crashes are due to distracted driving, and many of these accidents result from having kids in the car. In fact, kids are distracting four times as much as adults, while babies are eight times more distracting. Some of the activities that lead to unfocused driving include:

  • Handing kids food or drink
  • Changing a DVD for the kids to watch
  • Holding a bottle for an infant
  • Soothing a crying baby
  • Reaching for dropped items
  • Turning around to interact with children

Non-physical consequences of car accidents

Drivers in New Mexico who are involved in car accidents know that injuries and physical damage to the vehicles are just some of the consequences. Many accidents also result in non-physical effects such as emotional distress and post-traumatic stress. These can be short-term outcomes, but they can also last a long time, resulting in physical pain and debilitating mental issues.

According to Familydoctor.org, post-traumatic stress is common after the majority of car accidents. Feelings like guilt, worry, uneasiness and even anger can go away after a little while, but for some people they get stronger and begin to negatively affect normal life. Help should be sought in the following situations:

  • Sleeping and eating are affected
  • Reliance on drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Excessive irritability or anger
  • Feelings of anxiety or depression that do not subside, or get worse
  • Thoughts of suicide

Livestock liability and precautions

Whether it is cattle or horses, animal owners in New Mexico have a responsibility to make sure they do not pose a danger to others. If they get off the property and wander onto highways, this can cause serious accidents. Even when loose on the owner's property, these large animals can be dangerous to others. Owners must take certain precautions to make sure these animals are properly fenced and housed.

According to the International Risk Management Institute, loose animals increase the risk for serious injuries and death, which typically leads to not only insurance claims but also pricey lawsuits. Negligence by the animal's owner or keeper can show up in a number of ways including:

  • Poor maintenance of fences and other barriers
  • Defective fences
  • Open gates
  • Repetitive escapes
  • Failure to warn others of potential dangers

Keep motorcyclists safe on the road

Motorcycle riders in New Mexico are at higher risk of getting in accidents, and they also suffer more serious injuries than other drivers. While motorcyclists are often at fault, drivers of other vehicles are the cause of more crashes. Both motorcycle riders and drivers need to practice certain safety protocols in order to keep everyone safe on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclist fatalities happen way more frequently than deaths of other drivers. While the causes are often related to the other motor vehicle operators, alcohol use by motorcyclists was involved 43% of the time. While not riding after drinking is an obvious answer to the problem, other causes of fatalities are related to the lack of helmet use and visibility issues such as not wearing bright colors.

Is New Mexico safe for bicyclists?

Bicyclists who traverse New Mexico roads have a reasonable expectation of safety. Unfortunately, many motorists are not aware enough of their surroundings and accidents can occur.

Bicyclists have the same rights to be on the road as motorists – in fact, they are legally required to comply with the most of the same traffic laws as any other vehicle. They must ride as near to the right side as possible and exercise due care when passing another vehicle. But what are the requirements for motorists to be safe around bicyclists?

Speeding is no joke

Drivers in New Mexico who think they can drive a few miles per hour over the posted speed limit without consequences need to think again. Not only does speeding increase the chances of accidents and place others in danger, the state also has strict penalties for driving too fast. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the state has strict laws against reckless driving and speeding. In fact, research has shown it to be the 5th strictest state in all of the country. Besides the cost of the ticket, convicted drivers can expect higher insurance rates and even jail time for those who drive 25 miles per hour or more over the limit. Even first-time offenders feel the effects, and subsequent speeding tickets result in maximum fines.

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