Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C.
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New Mexico's anti-distracted driving efforts fall short

If you work in the Albuquerque area, then you've probably found yourself amidst the thousands of commuters who find themselves traveling busy roadways to and from work. In order to get to your destination safely, it is critical that you remain attentive behind the wheel. Yet, regardless of how defensive you are as a driver, there are likely a number of other motorists near you at any given time who are distracted. Whether they are changing the radio, filling with climate control, eating food, talking with passengers, or reading or sending text messages, these drivers' attention is taken away from the road. This, in turn, puts others at risk of being harmed in a car accident.

New Mexico has attempted to curtail distracted driving, but the efforts have done little to protect motorists. Since 2014, texting and driving has been illegal in the state, but statistics show that the number of wrecks caused by distracted driving have continued to increase despite the law. One reason may be that the laws are not enforced aggressively enough to serve as a deterrent.

In Santa Fe, where the use of handheld devices among motorists is illegal, a police spokesman indicated that they have to carefully select who they pull over for violations. The reasoning, he says, is that these cases wind up in court, requiring officers to testify, which, in turn, pulls them off of the street where they are desperately needed. Therefore, officers may see drivers who have their head down texting while driving, and they may do nothing to stop it.

This is unacceptable, as a distracted driver can cause a devastating car accident that leaves victims with serious injuries. In addition to their physical pain and suffering, these individuals may face excessive emotional and financial losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. When this happens, their only option for relief may be to turn to a personal injury attorney who may be able to help them succeed with a lawsuit.

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