Texting and driving is one of the most alarming and dangerous trends of our time. The problem is worse in New Mexico than in any other state. Distracted drivers had more accidents and caused 41% of all fatal crashes in New Mexico in 2021, more than in any other state for three years in a row. In Hawaii, the second-worst state for distracted driving in 2021, 29% of fatal car crashes were due to distracted driving.
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New Mexico is fighting the problem with tough laws about texting while driving. If you are hurt in a car accident because the other driver was texting, it is smart to learn more about New Mexico cell phone laws as you decide whether to seek damages from the other driver.
New Mexico Cell Phone Laws Vary By City
In 2014, a new law made it illegal to text or talk on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle in the state unless using a hands-free device. First-time offenders can be fined up to $25, while repeat offenders face a $50 fine. However, in Albuquerque, fines can start at $100 and increase to $300 with repeat offenses.
Some cities in New Mexico passed city laws prohibiting the use of cell phones and other handheld devices altogether. Albuquerque is one of those cities. Fines can start at $100 and increase to $300 with repeat offenses. Other cities banning cell phones while driving include:
- Santa Fe
- Las Cruces
Distracted Driving Includes More Than Texting and Driving
While the spotlight is often on texting and talking on a cell phone, New Mexico law also considers other forms of distracted driving. Activities such as eating, applying makeup, reading maps, or manipulating a navigation system are considered distractions while driving and can result in penalties.
Moreover, it is essential to note that New Mexico law treats novice and commercial drivers differently. For instance, under New Mexico Statutes Section 66-7-372, drivers with a learner’s permit or provisional license are prohibited from using cell phones altogether while driving, regardless of whether the device is hands-free. Commercial drivers also face stricter regulations under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, which prohibit texting and the use of handheld mobile devices.
While the laws regarding cell phone use are critical, it is essential to understand that any behavior causing a significant distraction while driving can lead to penalties under New Mexico’s comprehensive distracted driving laws. If the distracted driving leads to a severe injury or death, there may be extra criminal charges added such as higher fines and add-on charges like reckless driving.
What Can Happen in a Car Accident When the Other Driver was Texting
It is crucial to shed light on the many challenges victims face when a distracted driver injures someone. Understanding the full extent of these consequences is vital in pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Physical Injuries and Medical Treatment
Injuries resulting from accidents caused by distracted drivers can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe, life-altering conditions. It is essential to assess these injuries’ immediate and long-term impact on your health, well-being, and ability to lead a normal life. A dedicated personal injury attorney will work diligently to ensure that your medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care needs are fully considered in your claim.
Emotional Distress and Psychological Impact
Being involved in a traumatic accident can leave lasting emotional scars. The psychological impact, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can significantly affect your daily life and overall well-being. Your personal injury attorney will advocate for compensation that addresses the emotional distress you have endured, acknowledging the toll it has taken on your mental health.
Financial Burdens and Lost Income
In addition to physical and emotional challenges, a distracted driving accident can result in substantial financial burdens. Medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation, can quickly accumulate. Moreover, sustained injuries may lead to temporary or permanent disability, resulting in lost income and diminished earning capacity. Your attorney will assess these financial losses and fight for fair compensation to ease the burden and ensure financial stability during recovery.
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Property Damage and Vehicle Repairs
Collisions caused by distracted drivers often result in significant property damage, including damage to your vehicle or other personal property. Your personal injury attorney will assess the extent of the property damage, including repair costs, diminished value, and any other losses, seeking appropriate compensation to restore your property to its pre-accident condition.
Legal Processes and Insurance Companies
Navigating legal processes and dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will handle these complexities, protecting your rights. They will gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, pursue legal action to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Future Considerations and Long-Term Consequences
When assessing your claim, it is crucial to consider the long-term consequences of the accident. This includes potential future medical expenses, ongoing treatments, therapy, and other related needs. Your attorney will account for these future considerations to ensure that your compensation adequately addresses the full extent of your injuries, both now and in the years to come.
What To Do If Someone Breaks the New Mexico Laws on Texting While Driving And Hits Your Car
Now, what happens if you find yourself involved in a car accident where the other driver may have been texting and driving?
In such cases, proving that the other driver was breaking the New Mexico law car accident distracted can significantly help a personal injury claim. New Mexico operates under a “fault” car insurance system, meaning the driver at fault for causing the car accident is liable for any resulting harm or damage.
Personal Injury lawyers help you build a case with evidence of the at-fault driver’s cell phone usage during the accident, which could substantially contribute to establishing their liability. This includes cell phone records, eye-witness testimonies, traffic surveillance footage, and even admissions from the at-fault driver. However, it is essential to understand that every case is unique and subject to specific circumstances. Establishing fault and gathering substantial evidence is often a complex process, best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney.
While New Mexico’s cell phone laws might seem strict, they serve an important purpose—to reduce the risk of accidents and ensure the safety of all road users. Understanding these laws can save you from legal repercussions and protect you and others on the road. If you are the victim of a distracted driver in New Mexico, reach out to Kane Personal Injury for help in getting the settlement you deserve.