Overview of Distracted Driving in New Mexico

August 10, 2023 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
Overview of Distracted Driving in New Mexico

We discussed in our overview of distracted driving in Arizona how prevalent distracted driving is today. It's not an isolated issue for Arizona, the distracted driving epidemic exists all over the world and country, including in New Mexico. Today on the blog, we'll outline distracted driving in New Mexico – how does the problem impact New Mexicans, and what's being done about it?

If you've suffered injuries due to a distracted driver in New Mexico, call our car accident lawyer. We offer free, no-obligation consultations for our clients. You can set yours up by calling or texting us at 602-345-1818. You may also fill out our form, and we will reach back out to you to schedule your consultation. 

What Is Distracted Driving in New Mexico?

Distracted driving is a form of negligence when it comes to car accidents, and it includes any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road and the primary task of driving. While cell phones are, of course, a huge reason for the growing number of distracted-driver accidents, other distractions are happening in the driver's seat, including:

  • Viewing GPS and navigation apps while driving
  • Fixing hair and makeup 
  • Adjusting the radio, mirrors, temperature, seat position, etc
  • Communicating with passengers
  • Eating or drinking 

You'll notice that a common theme is multitasking while behind the wheel, and it's a very dangerous thing to do. Scientific research argues that humans are bad at multitasking in general; this is especially true when performing tasks that need a high level of focus, such as driving. 

To further dial in on exactly what distracted driving is, let's look at the official definition published by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which categorizes three main types of distractions behind the wheel:

  1. Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive - taking your mind off driving

What Does the Data Say About Distracted Driving?

The data around distracted driving is worrisome, especially when it comes to younger drivers. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving claims 3,142 lives in 2020. These statistics were reported by carinsurance.net:

  • Distracted driving causes about 2.5 million accidents around the globe yearly
  • About 80% of parents admit to handing their children food and drink from behind the wheel
  • In 2019, distracted driving accounted for about 9% of all fatal accidents
  • After cellphone use, the brain needs about 13 seconds to refocus on driving
  • Daily, about 1,000 people sustain injuries due to distracted driving

What's Being Done to Solve This Issue?

With information like the numbers above coming out every year, federal and local governments have taken action against distracted driving. Similarly, New Mexico has legislation that addresses this situation. The state officially outlawed “texting and driving” in 2014. In New Mexico, it's illegal to:

  • View a text message on a mobile device while driving
  • Text, email, or type on a mobile device while driving
  • Talk on the phone while driving unless using hands-free technology

The New Mexico statute that addresses texting and driving is NM Stat § 66-7-374 (2014). It reads as follows:

66-7-374. Texting while driving.

  1. A person shall not read or view a text message or manually type on a handheld mobile communication device for any purpose while driving a motor vehicle, except to summon medical or other emergency help or unless that device is an amateur radio and the driver holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the federal communications commission.
  2. The provisions of this section shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a handheld mobile communication device. Unless otherwise provided by law, the handheld mobile communication device used in the violation of the provisions of this section is not subject to search by a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop made pursuant to the provisions of this section.
  3. As used in this section:

(1) "driving" means being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway or street and includes being temporarily stopped because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign or otherwise, but "driving" excludes operating a motor vehicle when the vehicle has pulled over to the side of or off of an active roadway and has stopped at a location in which it can safely remain stationary;

(2) "handheld mobile communication device" means a wireless communication device that is designed to receive and transmit text or image messages, but "handheld mobile communication device" excludes global positioning or navigation systems, devices that are physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle and voice-operated or hands-free devices that allow the user to compose, send or read a text message without the use of a hand except to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function; and

(3) "text message" means a digital communication transmitted or intended to be transmitted between communication devices and includes electronic mail, an instant message, a text or image communication and a command or request to an internet site; but "text message" excludes communications through the use of a computer-aided dispatch service by law enforcement or rescue personnel.

Distracted Driving Accidents | Get a Car Accident Lawyer in New Mexico

If you've been hurt by a distracted driver, don't delay contacting a car accident lawyer in New Mexico. When you're hurt due to someone else's negligence or reckless behavior, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. We offer free initial consultations where we will review your case. To schedule this consultation, call or text us at 602-345-1818. Alternatively, you may fill out our online form here, and someone from our team will reach out to you to set up your free consultation and case review. 

This blog is intended to provide general information to a general audience only. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice from a legal professional. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney to answer and address your legal concerns.