The Motor Transport Police are beefing up patrols in Southeast New Mexico. The increase is part of an ongoing campaign. Officers are being brought in from around the state to try to combat all traffic issues involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles.
The special operation in the southeast portion of the state will be focusing on commercial vehicle crashes.
According to New Mexico State Police Dist. 3 Capt. Lance Bateman, one of the reasons for the increase is the fact that two of three traffic fatalities in the area involved one commercial vehicle.
“Some of the trucking company’s vehicles are up to date. Others are not.” Issues can include problems with brakes and other safety [auth] violations, including driver safety.
Bateman said the MTP are concentrating their attention in Eddy and Lea counties near the areas around Lovington and Carlsbad, although this does not mean that Chaves County will not benefit from their efforts.
“We have a lot of motor vehicle traffic along 285 and 70. The same trucking companies that get stopped drive through Chaves County, too.”
The period of the operation began in January and continues through April 2014. The goal is to try to reduce serious and fatal crashes involving semi-trucks through consistent high visibility and zero tolerance for those actions that can result in crashes, such as speeding, lane change violations, following too closely and other behaviors, such as driver inattention.
One accident where a person died occurred Monday near Lovington, when a vehicle rolled over on US 62/180. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and it is believed that driver inattention was a contributing cause to the crash.
On Friday, around 6:02 p.m. officers from the New Mexico State Police responded to the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Eddy County Road 605, also referred to as US Refinery Road. The driver of a 2013 Toyota Tundra told officials he was trying to pass a “water truck” when he collided head-on with a Ford Focus.
The driver of the Ford, Jonathan Venegas, 20, and passenger Julio Carreon, 33, both of Dexter, died at the scene.
MTP Capt. Chris Mydock based in Alamogordo said they are pulling officers from every district. Other agencies may assist, but he recognizes there are shortages in personnel.
“We are the agency who specializes in motor vehicle transport. We receive specialized training in all aspects of commercial inspection. An officer or a deputy can issue a ticket, but we are going to be looking at everything from the paperwork and the people, the condition of the driver to the condition of the vehicle.”
He also noted that no county, including Chaves County, would be exempt from the ongoing MTP inspections.