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New Mexico's distracted driving problem continues

Like most other states, New Mexico has laws that are designed to prevent distracted driving, specifically distracted driving caused by cellphones. Specifically, New Mexico prohibits so-called texting and driving. For purposes of the law, texting also includes checking one's email and just about any Internet use on one's smartphone while driving. It does not, however, prohibit making a traditional phone call.

Most agree that these laws are a good idea and can save lives. However, in this state, the law has certainly not eliminated all cases of distracted driving. In fact, according to a recent report, drivers in New Mexico are still spending up to 18 percent of their time on the road driving distracted by their phones.

While this might not seem like a big number, translating the percentage in to the amount of time an average New Mexico driver is spending on something other than driving really puts this statistic in to perspective. Specifically, a typical driver in this state has his or her mind and eyes off the road for about 10 minutes per every hour driven.

This is more than enough time to unwittingly cause a very serious or even deadly automobile accident. With statistics like these, it is no wonder, for instance, that New Mexico reportedly has the highest rate of traffic-related pedestrian deaths in the country.

While the laws in place no doubt help prevent distracted driving, more can be done to curb this ongoing safety emergency. For instance, while New Mexico's laws impose fines, they do not force a distracted driver to pay compensation to his or her victims. To hold a driver accountable in this respect, the victim or the victim's family will need to consider filing the appropriate civil lawsuit against the driver.

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