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Distracted Driving Accidents in Albuquerque

Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any activity that diverts attention from driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio.  Distracted driving accidents in Albuquerque are all too common, and the consequences are becoming increasingly severe.

According to statistics, New Mexico has the highest number of deaths from distracted driving (per million residents) of any state in the country.

Nationwide, the number of accidents related to distracted driving is rising at an alarming rate. More than half of the drivers surveyed admitted to engaging in distracted driving behaviors that range from using a cell phone to eating or drinking while driving.

These distractions compromise the safety of everyone on the road and increase the risk of accidents.

Laws and Regulations on Distracted Driving in New Mexico

To combat the dangers of distracted driving, New Mexico has implemented laws and regulations to address this issue.

In New Mexico, it’s against the law for all drivers to type on a mobile device, read messages, or talk on a hand-held cell phone. It’s also illegal for drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses (commonly referred to as “Novice Drivers”) to use a mobile device of any type (including hands-free).

Hands-free devices are allowed for fully licensed drivers.

New Mexico also has a specific ban on texting while driving for all drivers, and using a handheld device for any purpose while driving in a school zone is generally prohibited.

These laws aim to discourage drivers from engaging in activities that divert their attention from the road.

Violating distracted driving laws in New Mexico can result in steep penalties and serious consequences.

Offenders can face fines and even suspension of their driver’s license. These penalties serve as deterrents and reinforce the importance of focusing on the task of driving and avoiding distractions.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents

New Mexico’s distracted driving laws require drivers to maintain their full focus when behind the wheel.

While talking, texting, or other uses of electronic devices are the main causes of driver distractions, other common distractions that lead to accidents include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading GPS or maps
  • Adjusting components like radio or AC/heater controls, or searching playlists
  • Putting on makeup or other personal grooming
  • Talking with passengers
  • Daydreaming or fatigue
  • Reaching for fallen objects
  • Smoking or vaping
  • Assisting children in backseats
  • Uncaged pets
  • Reaching for dropped items

We’ve all probably done some of these things while driving, but if any of them distracts you and leads to a crash, well, you’re the one at fault.

The Facts About Cell Phones and Distracted Driving Accidents

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 21 percent of all crashes in 2010 involved talking on cell phones – accounting for 1.1 million crashes that year. According to the NSC, using a cell phone while driving makes it four times as likely that the driver will crash – while using a handheld or hands-free devices.”

According to a recent study by Pew Research, cell phone use has grown dramatically over the past 10 years. In 2011, cell phone subscriptions covered only 35% of the U.S. population; by 2021, that had grown to 97%.

At any given time of the day, 7 days a week, as many as 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving a vehicle.

Also, according to The National Safety Council’s Brief on Distracted Driving:

  • 6 million crashes each year occur while using a cell phone and driving
  • Nearly 390,000 injuries a year are from accidents caused by texting while driving
  • Texting and driving leads to one out of every four car accidents in the United States.

Texting while driving is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated.

Why Is Texting So Dangerous? Putting It in Perspective.

What many drivers don’t seem to understand is that the average text message requires your attention for about five seconds. That doesn’t seem too bad, right?

Consider the fact, however, that if you’re traveling at 55 mph, five seconds is about the same amount of time it takes to travel the full length of a football field.

A lot of bad things can happen in 100 yards when you’re not watching.

Teens and Texting

According to a AAA poll, 61% of drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 admitted to engaging in risky driving behaviors, such as texting while behind the wheel and talking on their phones.

Teen drivers are also four times as likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash when talking or texting on a cell phone than adults, and a teen driver with just a single passenger in their car doubles the risk of getting into a fatal car accident.

With two or more passengers, a fatality becomes five times more likely.

Recognizing the Signs of Distracted Driving

Recognizing the signs of distracted driving is crucial for both personal safety and identifying liability in personal injury cases.

Common signs and behaviors exhibited by distracted drivers include:

  • Sudden swerving
  • Drifting or weaving between lanes
  • Driving at inconsistent speeds
  • Delayed reactions to traffic signals or other motorists
  • Failing to maintain a consistent speed

These are all red flags that can indicate a driver’s lack of attention and focus on the road.

In car accident cases, proving that the at-fault driver was distracted is essential for a successful claim.

Accident investigation plays a vital role in identifying and documenting evidence of distracted driving accidents. An Albuquerque personal injury or car accident lawyer may analyze and photograph the scene of the accident, collect witness statements, review phone records, and gather any other relevant evidence that can establish driver distraction.

Their expertise ensures that all necessary evidence is gathered and properly documented, strengthening the case for the injured party.

Evidence of Distracted Driving

One of the most important functions of a car accident attorney is to gather evidence that proves fault in the case of a distracted driving car accident.

Key sources of this evidence may include:

Eyewitness Reports

Testimony from eyewitnesses can be extremely valuable evidence in a distracted driving accident case.

Observers of the accident can provide a firsthand account of what happened.

Testimony regarding cell phone usage, eating, or other distracting activities, from a credible witness, can help establish a timeline of events and provide important details about the distracted driver’s behavior and actions right before the accident.

Cellphone Records

If the use of a cell phone was the cause of distraction, your car accident lawyer can obtain a warrant for a copy of the driver’s cell phone records, to prove that they were using their phone at the time of the accident.

This can be invaluable evidence in proving liability.

Text messages and online activity from the driver’s phone can also provide a clearer picture of distractions in the moments leading up to the crash.

It’s vital to get this evidence as quickly as possible, as cellphone service providers may not store these records for very long.

Social Media and Online Activity

As hard as it may be to believe, some drivers just can’t help snapping a selfie, or tweeting about the traffic when they should be focused on the road.

Luckily, in this digital age, the exact times and dates of a driver’s online presence can easily be established. By checking social media accounts, user posts, and image timestamps your Albuquerque car accident lawyer can establish any online activities (aka distractions) in the moments before the accident.

Dashcam/Traffic Camera Footage

Video can provide some of the most compelling evidence in a distracted driving case.

Footage may come from dashcams, traffic cams, or surveillance and security cameras from nearby businesses that had a view of the accident actually happening.

If this footage shows that the at-fault driver was texting or preoccupied with other distracting activities, it can be indisputable proof of fault.

Event Data Recorders

Some newer vehicles include Event Data Recorders (EDRs) or “black boxes” that capture a range of data about the vehicle’s operation. For example, an EDR could provide information on the car’s rate of speed, braking (or not), and steering inputs.

EDR data can provide strong evidence to establish that a distracted driver’s actions contributed to the crash and can be invaluable in determining fault.

Consequences of Distracted Driving and Legal Support

The consequences of distracted driving can be significant, leading to injuries, fatalities, legal implications, and financial liabilities.

In these cases, proving driver distraction is crucial for a successful case. Establishing that the at-fault driver was distracted can help prove liability, hold them accountable for their negligence, and increase the chances of receiving fair compensation for injuries and damages sustained.

Distracted driving poses a serious risk to drivers on the roads of New Mexico and across the nation.

The consequences of these actions can be severe and irreversible, often leading to injuries, fatalities, and distracted driving lawsuits.

By understanding the impact of distracted driving, recognizing the signs, and taking steps to prevent it, we can all contribute to safer roads and protect ourselves and others from the dangers of distracted driving.

Raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and working together to prioritize safety is crucial to prevent future accidents, make our roads safer and distraction-free, and save countless lives.

And that is worth putting down our cell phones.

Following a car accident caused by distracted driving, it’s important to seek legal support from professionals who have experience in handling these cases.

Proving that an at-fault driver was distracted is vital to the successful outcome of a personal injury case in New Mexico, and requires experienced accident investigators and Albuquerque car accident lawyers who can gather evidence and document the incident thoroughly.

If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident in New Mexico, it’s important to take immediate action. Seeking legal assistance from Barrera Law Group LLC’s expert car accident attorneys, who can help you navigate through the legal process and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their negligence, is a great place to start.

Remember, you don’t need to be alone in your fight for justice.

Contact us today.

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