Car Inspection Laws in New Mexico

Across the country, car accidents happen for many reasons. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of crashes result from actions by drivers, such as speeding, tailgating, and failing to yield. 

Of that total, only about 2% of crashes happen when vehicle or trailer equipment fails. And though that number might seem small, the state of New Mexico alone experienced 99,450 car accidents in 2021. That is to say, roughly 2,000 crashes involved a malfunctioning vehicle. 

After a crash in Albuquerque, NM, Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers can investigate your case. We’ll apply our knowledge of car inspection laws in New Mexico to determine whether the other driver bears at least some fault by driving a car that was likely to (if not bound to) fail. 

Contact our Albuquerque car crash lawyers for a free initial consultation to learn more.

How Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Car Accident in Albuquerque, NM

Car Inspection Laws in New Mexico

The team of Albuquerque car accident attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers has represented injured clients against at-fault parties and their insurers since 2011. We have successfully recovered over $50 million for people just like you.

If someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions cause a car accident that injures you in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our lawyers will do the following:

  • Listen to your story and explain your legal options
  • Gather evidence to prove liability in your case
  • Prepare your insurance claim and negotiate to settle it
  • Present your case in court against insurers and parties who will not settle

Car accidents can result in serious injuries regardless of the cause. Therefore, you should not hesitate to contact our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. We’ll help you learn how we can help you pursue compensation under New Mexico law.

How Often Do Crashes Result From Equipment Failures in New Mexico?

In 2021, 1.7% of New Mexico’s 99,450 total car crashes resulted from faulty vehicles. Similarly, 1.6% of the state’s injury-causing crashes (and 2.1% of its fatal crashes) were caused by vehicle defects.

More specifically, the most common vehicle-related causes of crashes included the following:

  • Brake failures
  • Tire or wheel defects
  • Steering faults
  • Broken or inoperative lights and signals
  • Damaged windows, windshields, and wipers
  • Coupling problems (in particular, the trailer hitch on commercial vehicles)

Crashes caused by defective vehicles resulted in 29 fatalities and 532 non-fatal injuries. The remaining 1,174 collisions only produced property damage.

New Mexico Vehicle Safety Inspections

In 1966, Congress passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, a comprehensive law that required states to implement many standards familiar to older drivers. Interstate highways had a uniform speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Motorcyclists had to wear helmets. And vehicle owners needed to have safety inspections completed on their vehicles.

Congress enforced the standards by threatening to withhold federal highway funds from states that refused to implement them. Although the law was successful, Congress amended it just a few years later to remove the Department of Transportation’s authority to withhold highway funding. And in response, states immediately began to roll back their laws.

Today, a majority of states process vehicle registrations without any mandatory safety inspection. New Mexico is one of these, as it does not have a specific vehicle safety inspection law. In other words, you can register or renew a registration regardless of your vehicle’s condition. 

Police-Initiated Inspections

Although New Mexico lacks mandatory safety inspections, it does have laws that set basic equipment standards for motorcycles and automobiles. If a car does not meet these standards, the police can stop the unsafe vehicle and cite the driver. 

A vehicle might meet the definition of “unsafe” in three key ways:

  • It does not have mandatory equipment, such as tail lights or turn signals
  • Its mandatory equipment does not operate properly
  • It has prohibited equipment, such as illegal window tint

A violation of these equipment laws qualifies as a misdemeanor in New Mexico. Your punishment for driving an unsafe vehicle could include up to a year in jail. Additionally, you may also bear the liability for any losses resulting from crashes they cause.

The liability for New Mexico traffic crashes usually arises under negligence law. Negligence itself refers to actions in which a road user fails to exercise reasonable care, injuring someone else as a result. 

In the case of unsafe vehicles, a driver or owner bears the liability for accidents that happen when the driver knew or should have known their vehicle was not working correctly. 

For example, if a vehicle owner knew their brakes were on the verge of failure yet continued to drive their vehicle anyway, they would likely be liable for any crash that happens when the brakes fail.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With Our Car Accident Law Firm in Albuquerque

Although car accidents from equipment failures rarely happen, they can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Contact Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation after your crash to discuss the compensation you can seek for your injuries.