New Mexico is among the most dangerous states for automobile drivers and passengers. According to 2016 data from the New Mexico Department of Health, the state’s rate of overall auto accident deaths is 28% higher than the national average. The rate of child fatalities is 43% above the U.S. rate and second-highest in the nation.
Protect your child when he or she is a passenger with these critical safety tips.
Use a proper safety seat
State law requires children to ride in an approved child safety seat until they reach age 7 and weigh 60 pounds. Children ages 7 to 12 who weigh more than 60 pounds must use a booster seat. Infants must remain in a rear-facing booster seat until they reach age 1 and 20 pounds, ideally remaining in a rear-facing seat until they reach 35 pounds. If you are not sure whether you have correctly installed your child’s seat, look for a car seat safety event in your area through Safer New Mexico Now.
Discuss DUI danger
Drinking or using drugs and driving was a factor in more than half of New Mexico auto accident fatalities in 2016. Make sure that your teens understand the importance of calling home if anyone giving them a ride has been drinking. Set a good example with your own safe driving practices.
Distracted driving also contributes to an increase in auto accidents. Never text or use your device when behind the wheel. Smartphones are not the only distraction, however. Anything that removes your attention from the road poses a serious crash risk, whether that means eating a meal or snack, applying makeup, or having a phone or in-person conversation.
If your child suffers a severe auto accident injury and another motorist caused the accident, you can seek legal compensation for medical bills and other costs. The parent must file a lawsuit on the child’s behalf within three years of the accident date.