| Read Time: 4 minutes | Truck Accidents
What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?

Thousands of commercial vehicles travel throughout New Mexico each day. Unfortunately, even careful commercial drivers get into collisions.

Truck accidents can happen on the highway, side streets, or parking lots, leaving many innocent victims with severe injuries or even death but what happens when a truck driver has an accident? 

As the injured motorist, it is not your responsibility to be concerned about whether a CDL driver loses their license. But the prospect of a suspension or revocation can impact your case nevertheless.

For example, a commercial driver might resist admitting fault if they think they will lose the ability to earn a living as a truck driver.

If you have questions about your options following a truck accident, including how your truck accident claim might affect the truck driver, contact a New Mexico truck accident lawyer at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C.

Trucking Companies Hiring Drivers with Accidents Leads to More Accidents

While most truck drivers are experienced, trained, and excellent at what they do, others are not.

Trucking companies that hire drivers must vet the drivers to ensure they have the skills and experience to be trusted behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle and out on the roads and highways.

Trucking companies hiring drivers with accidents leads to more accidents, and the results of negligent hiring can lead to devastating consequences. 

Some truck drivers represent a danger for the following reasons:

  • Truck driver health concerns—each truck driver must pass a Department of Transportation physical examination before hire and must pass a new physical every two years;
  • The truck driver’s driving records—without an active Class C license, a truck driver is unqualified to drive a large commercial vehicle;
  • Truck driver criminal records—commercial truck drivers addicted to alcohol or prescription drugs will have their driving ability inhibited; and
  • Inadequate training—after screening drivers, employers are responsible for training and supervising their workers to reduce the risk of truck accidents and keep truck accidents and keep the roads safe.

Companies hiring truck drivers with no experience or failing to provide them with adequate experience and training is also negligent. 

Commercial Vehicle Accident Procedure for Drug Testing

After an accident involving a commercial vehicle, federal law outlines clear guidance commercial vehicle accident procedure drug testing. 

A commercial truck driver must take a drug test in fatal accidents. A truck driver must also submit to a drug test when a person sustains a bodily injury and receives immediate medical treatment away from the scene or when the damage to any vehicle in the accident requires a tow-away service.

Federal laws also require immediate testing for any driver suspected of being intoxicated.

A commercial truck driver must submit to a drug test in most accident scenarios. When a test comes back positive, this provides strong evidence of the truck driver’s negligence.

A positive test can also provide support to demonstrate that the commercial truck driver’s negligence contributed to the victim’s injuries.

CDL Accident in Personal Vehicle

Actions in a personal vehicle can impact a truck driver’s CDL. A commercial truck driver is not required to follow all the same regulations when driving a personal vehicle.

But a commercial truck driver driving a personal automobile is still responsible for driving safely, as is everyone on the road. Certain traffic violations or offenses can result in a license suspension or disqualify a truck driver from holding a CDL. 

Under New Mexico law, major violations occurring in a non-commercial vehicle will result in the same disqualifications as those occurring in a commercial vehicle. 

What to Do If You Lose Your CDL License?

The circumstances of an accident will dictate whether the driver will lose their CDL and, consequently, their job. Depending on how the accident occurred, the driver could lose their license entirely. 

What to do if you lose your CDL license? When a driver causes accidents because they are careless, they could lose their commercial driving license and will find it challenging to work as a professional driver in the future. Actions that can lead a CDL driver to lose their license are:

  • Driving while intoxicated;
  • Driving too fast, usually at least 15 miles per hour faster than the speed limit;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident the CDL driver caused;
  • Engaging in illegal activity with a commercial vehicle; and
  • Using a commercial vehicle to hurt another driver purposely.

For a complete list of reasons truck drivers can be disqualified, take a look at the Code of Federal Regulations.

How Many Accidents Can a CDL Driver Have in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division outlines CDL testing requirements and guidelines for commercial drivers. The conditions are similar to federal CDL guidelines. Licensing authorities under state and federal law can revoke a CDL for several reasons. 

How many accidents can a CDL driver have? If a CDL driver causes an accident or commits major violations, the CDL may be suspended for 60 days or more. During this period, the driver cannot operate a commercial vehicle. 

Under federal law, the driver will receive a 120-day minimum suspension for three serious violations within three years. Additional state restrictions may apply. 

The CDL will likely be revoked when a CDL driver commits a major offense, such as causing an accident while intoxicated. Some states allow CDL drivers with revoked CDLs to apply for reinstatement after ten years. A second major offense can result in permanent disqualification.

Contact a New Mexico Commercial Truck Accident Attorney Today for Help

At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., we fight aggressively to uphold the legal rights of commercial truck accident victims. We have years of experience assisting victims injured in commercial vehicle accidents in both New Mexico and Texas

If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a truck accident, it is critical that you speak with an attorney before making statements to the insurance company or accepting any settlements. Let us help with any questions you have after an accident in New Mexico. 

Call or contact us online to schedule a free review of your case with a skilled New Mexico semi-truck accident lawyer.

Author Photo

Alejandro Acosta

Mr. Acosta is a lifelong resident of El Paso. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 2000 and graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio in 2004. Mr. Acosta went on to attend Sandra Day O’ Connor College of Law (Arizona State Law School). He graduated in 2008, receiving his J.D. and his Indian Legal Certificate for his work in Indian Law and dealings with various tribal nations throughout Arizona. Alejandro has been licensed to practice law in Texas since 2008 and has been licensed in the State of New Mexico since 2011.

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