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New Mexico Struggles with High Rate of Distracted Driving Deaths

Man using phone with hand while driving a car.

New Mexico has the highest distracted driving accident rate of any state in the country, according to a recent study that reveal just how bad collisions caused by distracted drivers have become in New Mexico.

“Those numbers are pretty alarming,” Wilson Silver, a spokesperson for the New Mexico State Police, said in a recent interview with KOB 4 News about one of the traffic safety studies that ranked New Mexico the worst state in the country for distracted driving accidents.

Distracted driving accidents in New Mexico are getting worse

The recent distracted driving accident study referred to by the spokesperson for the New Mexico State Police during an interview with KOB 4 News was based on accident data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to the study, distracted drivers caused 41 percent of all fatal car accidents in New Mexico, the most of any state in the country. To put such numbers in perspective, that’s five times higher than the national average. More specifically, according to NHTSA data, 197 car accident fatalities in New Mexico in 2021 were due to distracted drivers.

Crash data also revealed New Mexico has the highest fatality rate of any state in the country when it comes to distracted driving accidents. According to accident statistics, 38 percent of car accident fatalities in New Mexico were due to distracted drivers. So, in just one year, the number of car accident deaths in New Mexico caused by distracted drivers has increased from 38 percent to 41 percent.

What is New Mexico doing to prevent distracted driving?

State and local police in New Mexico insist they have been doing everything possible to reduce distracted driving accidents. Silver told KOB 4 News that state police officers in New Mexico have been vigorously enforcing the state’s distracted driving laws. They have also been educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

“You can wait to send a text, you can wait to call somebody, or if you need to do so pull over somewhere where it’s safe,” Silver said.

“Our officers see it all the time,” Silver added. “People, you know, want to make a phone call. They want to send a quick text. So, what do you do when you make that phone call or send a quick text? You take your eyes off the road.”

Does New Mexico have any distracted driving laws?

Yes, but not as many laws as some other states. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), New Mexico’s distracted driving laws include:

  • In New Mexico, texting while driving is prohibited for drivers of all ages. This means that drivers cannot read, write, or send text messages while driving.
  • Drivers with a learner’s permit cannot use a cell phone for any reason while driving.

However, unlike some states, New Mexico does not have a hand-held cellphone ban. As a result, drivers in New Mexico can hold their phone and use it while driving, as long as they’re not texting while driving.

Why should I hire a distracted driving accident attorney after a crash?

If a distracted driver causes your car crash in New Mexico, you might think you don’t even need an attorney. All you have to do is contact your insurance company, and they’ll work everything out with the other driver’s insurance company. Don’t be so sure. In many cases, straightforward accidents quickly turn into complicated legal cases.

Attorney Andras Szantho is an experienced distracted driving accident lawyer who can help you every step of the way. That’s because his legal team at the Szantho Law Firm, P.C. has years of experience handling complex legal cases involving distracted drivers. As a result, we know what evidence to look for, what questions to ask, and which legal strategies can often be the most effective.

Get a legal warrior who’s prepared to fight for your rights. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is conveniently located on Prospect Avenue in Albuquerque, and we also have an office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Best of all, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you only pay us if we obtain a financial settlement or verdict for you.

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