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Distracted driving is a big problem. This includes cell phone use while driving. We all know that it is dangerous, yet many of us continue to do it. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 3,500 people were killed in 2016 due to distracted driving. This includes playing with the radio, GPS, eating, passengers, and of course cell phone use. In fact, according to statistics from DMV.org, cell phone use accounted approximately 14% of all fatal distracted driving crashes and 10% of the total number fatal crashes. Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer knows how dangerous cell phone use can be on our roads.
But when you combine cell phone use and large commercial trucks like 18 wheelers, big rigs, box trucks, semi tractor trailers, tandem or double trailers, tankers, flatbeds, and other commercial trucks, it is a recipe for disastrous personal injuries. This is even more true on fast moving highways and interstates. Large 18 wheelers are heavy and gain considerable momentum at high speeds. Any collision with another vehicle will be disastrous and deadly. This is why distracted drivers talking on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle are likely negligent and liable to other drivers on the roadway when they cause a New Mexico 18 wheeler crash.
Despite how dangerous cell phone use is, New Mexico’s statutes have only banned texting while driving under NM Stat. 66-7-374. This section of law makes illegal for any driver to manually type a text message on a handheld mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. This includes against a truck driver.
But while holding a cell phone to place a phone call is not per se illegal under New Mexico law, that does not mean a victim injured in a New Mexico trucking accident caused by a truck driver on his or her cell phone is without rights and remedies.
First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted federal regulations which apply to all commercial truck drivers no matter what state are driving in. This includes New Mexico. These regulations prohibit the use of a mobile phone while operating a large box truck, 18 wheeler, or other commercial vehicle. A violation of this regulation is evidence of negligence and may help a victim recover compensation against a negligent trucking company and truck driver.
Second, the mere fact that something is not prohibited under the law does not make it safe or permissible. Under a negligence cause of action, which is the applicable standard in a personal injury action including with truck accidents, a victim can prove that the driver was engaged in reckless, careless, or otherwise downright negligent conduct which caused the trucking accident. This includes cell phone use prior to and at the time of the crash. A victim can establish that a truck driver was negligent by using his or her cell phone which was a breach of the standard of care owed to other drivers on the roadway.
After a trucking accident caused by a truck driver on a cell phone, he or she may say that it is not illegal in New Mexico. An insurance adjuster may also say that it is allowed and you are entitled to nothing. The trucking company may even blame you. All of these are tactics by the defendant to mitigate your damages and the truck driver’s culpable conduct in an effort to get you to “go away.” But this is not the law, and you may be entitled to compensation for personal injuries caused by a New Mexico 18 wheeler accident.
If a truck driver caused your New Mexico motor vehicle crash in Lordsburg, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell, or anywhere else in New Mexico due to a truck driver on his or her cell phone, call the NM Truck Accident Attorneys to learn how we can help fight for your rights by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn what rights you may have. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.