Compared with the rest of the country, New Mexico had the most distracted driving fatal accidents at the end of 2019 with 61.6 deaths per million residents. While state laws have placed tighter restrictions on what drivers can and cannot do behind the wheel, more needs to be done to prevent distracted driving accidents throughout the state.
What does New Mexico law say about distracted driving?
Motorists in New Mexico may not text or talk on an electronic device while operating a vehicle unless they use hands-free mode. Electronic devices include cellphones, gaming devices, tablets and laptops.
It is also illegal for a driver to have a device in hand or support it with the body while driving, watching videos, taking photos or videos, posting on or scrolling through social media, or reading, writing and sending any kind of electronic messages. However, the state makes exceptions for emergency 911 calls and GPS navigation.
Prepare before driving
Drivers should take a few minutes to get set up before pulling out of the driveway. This includes determining a GPS route, choosing a podcast or playlist, and reading or listening to any urgent messages prior to driving. Then, motorists should stow the phone in a safe place until reaching the destination. Most devices have a “do not disturb” mode that will mute drivers’ notifications.
You can do your part with 3 simple actions
Preparation can help drivers avoid distracting behaviors. Also, when people speak up to their friends and family about the dangers of distracted driving, this simple action can help create a culture of safety in which more drivers avoid distraction. Setting a good example is also important, perhaps especially for parents, who will serve as role models for new drivers.
With these three simple actions (1. Prepare, 2. Speak Up, and 3. Set an Example), motorists can help keep New Mexico roads safer.