Most people I speak with think distracted driving relates solely to texting and driving; however, this is incorrect. While texting and operating a motor vehicle is distracted driving, and incredibly dangerous, distracted driving also takes many other forms. Distracted driving is ANY activity that takes your focus (mental and/or physical) away from safely operating your vehicle. Some common examples are texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, adjusting the radio, watching videos, looking back at your children, and way, way to many more to list. Shockingly, the list contains some bizarre behaviors while behind the wheel: romantic encounters, changing clothes, switching drivers, and going to the bathroom. (From Erie Insurance survey). Any and all of these activities are extremely dangerous and potentially deadly when operating a car, truck, motorcycle, or other motorized vehicle.
In 2014, over 3,100 people were killed due to distracted driving—that averages out to be about 8.7 people killed daily. And, over 430,000 injured persons in 2014 due to distracted driving—that is over 1100 people a day on average! (Distraction.gov) These numbers are alarming. Unfortunately, as technology evolves, so will the opportunity for distraction.
New Mexico has statutes in place that prohibit the use of “handheld mobile communication devices” (cell phones) and texting while driving. (See NMSA Sections 66-7-374 to 375). Some New Mexico cities have opted to make the punishment a little harsher than the $25 fine (for first offense) the state invoked for violating its statute. But, the reality is, these statutes are not much of a deterrent.
So, what are we to do? Education is the biggest area in which we could improve. The hazards of distracted driving must be taught in every school, and with a much greater emphasis in driver’s education. Ultimately, the issue of distracted driving boils down to one thing: self-control. It is our individual responsibility to make sure we our mentally and physically focused on driving, and nothing else.
I wish I could say that I have never texted while driving, or participated in other distractive activity, but that would be a lie. I am sure most, if not everyone has been distracted while driving at least once in his or her life. It is important for all of us to say, “enough is enough.” We know distracted driving is dangerous—this is undeniable. So lets take a pledge to end distracted driving.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a distracted driver in New Mexico, it is important that you hire a law firm that will handle your case properly and get you fair compensation for your injuries. Contact Bradley Law today at 505-585-4-LAW (505-585-4529).