Heavy trucks are simply a way of life. It’s almost impossible to drive anywhere, particularly around Albuquerque, and not see a large truck barreling down the road. Tragically, crashes involving these vehicles have also become an all-too-common reality.

The size of heavy trucks and the speed at which they travel make them deadly, especially if there is a collision with a small vehicle. Some recent statistics paint a particularly troubling picture.

How many people suffer serious injuries?

From 2013 to 2017, New Mexico saw 11,243 crashes involving heavy trucks, according to an official transportation report. These collisions resulted in 276 people dying and 392 people suffering incapacitating injuries (meaning they had to be carried off the scene or were unable to do some basic human actions).

There were another 1,256 suspected “minor” injuries, but that term can be misleading. A concussion may seem minor at the scene, but could still force the victim to take time off work and get expensive medical treatment.

Officials also found distracted driving was the main contributing factor in one in every five heavy truck crashes. Meanwhile, vehicle defects – so issues with brakes, tires, steering or other mechanical systems – were noted in 3% of crashes.

Interstate 40 is particularly dangerous

The report includes a breakdown of the areas with the highest number of heavy truck crashes. There are small clusters throughout the state, particularly around Las Cruces and west along Interstate 10; in and around Carlsbad; and surrounding Farmington.

Albuquerque is far and away the most dangerous area, however. It sees the highest number of heavy truck crashes, in part because Interstate 40 cuts through it. While the entire highway is highlighted as a danger area, a small stretch within Albuquerque – from Coors Boulevard NW to San Mateo Boulevard NE – is particularly hazardous.

Trucking and maintenance companies have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are safe to use, and that drivers are adhering to safety regulations. Heavy truck drivers, meanwhile, must follow the rules of the road and ensure they are not being negligent (such as by speeding or using their cellphone while behind the wheel).

Other motorists’ lives and livelihoods are at stake.