As many residents of the greater Bernalillo and other parts of the greater Albuquerque area may have noticed, there is ongoing push to warn drivers about the dangers of texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving. Unfortunately, at least according to one recent report, it seems that these warnings are largely falling on deaf ears.
This report, which was based on a review of 12,000 drivers, suggested that the number of people willing to handle their cell phones while driving increased by well more than 50 percent between 2014 and 2018. Obviously, this behavior is potentially dangerous and even deadly, as one cannot both drive safely and look at his or her phone. To this point, one government agency recently estimated that distracted driving was to blame for over 3,000 deaths in 2017, a figure which represents over 8 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Some even suggest that this estimate is low since it only accounts for cases either in which a driver involved in a deadly accident admits to texting and driving or in which police are allowed to inspect a driver's phone after a serious car crash. These statistics are simply unacceptable, and more needs to be done to prevent distracted driving. After all, when drivers do not heed warnings about putting their phones down, as these statistics show, the results are often grim.
Certainly, stepped-up law enforcement efforts and even criminal penalties might help, but these often do relatively little to make New Mexico victims of distracted drivers financially whole after an accident. These victims should be compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit in which they can seek to hold a distracted driver accountable for negligence.