Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 21 percent of all crashes in 2010 involved talking on cell phones – accounting for 1.1 million crashes that year. A minimum of three percent of crashes are estimated to involve texting. According to the NSC, using a cell phone while driving makes it four times as likely that the driver will crash – while using a handheld or hands-free devices. Cell phone use has grown dramatically over the past 15 years. In 1996, cell phone subscriptions covered only 14 percent of the U.S. population; by 2011, that had grown to 102.4 percent.
Multitasking is a myth. Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain handles tasks sequentially, switching between one task and another. Brains can juggle tasks very rapidly, which leads us to erroneously believe we are doing two tasks at the same time. In reality, the brain is switching attention between tasks – performing only one task at a time.
For this reason, starting in July 2014, texting while driving has officially been outlawed in New Mexico. The law affects anyone who is “in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway or street,” including being temporarily stopped at a traffic light or sign. To specify even further, “text message” is defined as “a digital communication transmitted or intended to be transmitted between communication devices and includes electronic mail, an instant message, a text or image communication and a command or request to an internet site.” A first time offense will result in a fine, which increases with subsequent offenses.
For more information about distracted driving please visit: http://www.nsc.org
9400 Holly Avenue NE, Suite 201
Albuquerque, NM 87122
Injury Prevention Resource Center
3220 Richards Lane, Suite A
Santa Fe, NM 87505