Albuquerque, NM – Distracted driving in on the rise, and if texting wasn’t enough of a distraction, we’re seeing a rise in the number of selfies taken while driving. Selfies, or self-portraits, can be found all over social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter, and an alarming number of these are clearly taken from the driver’s seat.
“This is especially alarming because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 11 percent of drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal accidents were distracted,” says Salim Khayoumi, a car accident lawyer in Albuquerque. “Smartphones are wonderful inventions, but when used while driving, they can be deadly.”
It has been reported that texting while driving can increase the likelihood of an accident by as much as 23 percent. If that’s true, just think about how much trying to get the perfect selfie increases that likelihood! A recent study by Ford Motor Company found that half of young drivers admitted to taking a photo while behind the wheel, and estimates that taking a photo can distract a driver for between 14 and 20 seconds. When you’re on the road, that can be a lifetime.
“Distracted driving is now becoming a primary cause in many traffic accidents,” says Khayoumi. “More states are passing laws to reduce distracted driving. This summer, we saw public service announcements throughout our state showing the result of distracted driving, and it wasn’t pretty. Governor Martinez has stated that texting while driving is the number one cause of death for teen drivers.”
In New Mexico, the following is prohibited:
- Texting and typing on handheld devices, including internet use, while driving
- Failing to have full-time and entire attention on operating a motor vehicle
Additionally, Albuquerque has a local ordinance restricting cell phone use while driving, a move embraced by many, including attorneys in Albuquerque.
For the younger generations who are rarely seen without smartphones in hand, increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving are becoming frequent from government, law enforcement and safety groups.
“If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver, you need to contact a trained car accident attorney right away,” says Khayoumi. “The driver should be held responsible for damage and injuries caused, and the right attorney can ensure you are properly represented.”
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