New Mexico state lawmakers have passed a bill that would increase the penalty for texting while driving from $25 to $100, with subsequent offenses also carrying a higher fine. The state Senate approved the bill, which will now go to the House for consideration.
The proposed fine increase comes after the current Mrs. New Mexico, Summer Whistle, urged lawmakers to address the matter. Whistle's father was killed by a distracted driver in 2014.
Each year, thousands are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in distracted driving accidents nationwide.
As we discussed in a recent post, distracted driving accidents have spiked in recent years, and efforts on multiple fronts are needed to address the problem. In addition to driver education and effective law enforcement, phone makers are being urged by safety experts to install a "driver mode" in all smartphones.
There is also the issue of personal responsibility. If drivers know, as studies have shown, that texting while driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving, then the responsible thing to do is simply to put down the phone and avoid driving distractedly.
Still, drivers risk their own lives and the lives of others by using handheld devices behind the wheel.
On average, nearly 20,000 people are injured in traffic accidents in New Mexico each year, and victims need and deserve compensation for their injuries.
Even if it is clear that a distracted driver injured you or a loved one, you may encounter challenges in trying to get the compensation you need and deserve. At Almanzar & Youngers, we help car and truck accident victims hold negligent drivers and insurance companies accountable.
To learn more, please see our overview of motor vehicle accidents.