New Mexico Laws Regarding Distracted Driving with Headphones

Technology has provided individuals with the ability to be more connected to others on a consistent basis. However, this ability has also risen to an expectation that people should be able to respond and be reachable at all times. With this changing landscape, there has also been a rise in distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), distracted driving is listed as a contributing cause for over 20 percent of New Mexico car accidents.

Simply stated, distracted driving occurs when a motorist is operating a vehicle while engaged in another activity that takes their attention away from driving. These activities often include texting and talking on the phone or another electronic device. Distracted driving is a dangerous and potentially deadly activity that results in many serious injuries and fatalities.

Although New Mexico has banned drivers from text messaging and speaking on hand-held devices while driving there are many other distracted behaviors that are not regulated. While a driver may be subject to fines and license suspension for engaging in these behaviors, even while stopped at a traffic light, there are no laws regarding wearing headphones while driving.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) maintains a list of each state’s laws regarding headphone and earpiece use while driving. According to AAA, New Mexico does not have any laws on the books regarding the permissibility of headphones while driving, in effect, making it legal to drive with these potentially dangerous devices. Driving with headphones can easily result in a situation where a motorist is not aware of their surroundings. This can result in a driver missing traffic signals, signals from other motorists, or directives from police officers or other emergency officials, which may lead to an accident.

Cyclists Warned about Dangers of Headphone Use after Fatal Bus Accident

Even though New Mexico does not have a current law banning headphone use while driving, the rise in fatalities due to this type of accident will likely result in an examination of the current laws. According to a local news report, the frequency of these accidents has tripled in the past six years. A shocking surveillance video became public after a 2017 accident in which a bus slammed into a 30-year-old investment banker who was riding while wearing large headphones. Some are arguing that the cyclist did not hear the bus approaching because he was wearing headphones. Safety experts are now strongly urging motorists and bikers to rethink wearing noise-blocking headphones and to become more aware of their surroundings.

Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Bus Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a New Mexico bus accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver, you should contact the Fine Law Firm to discuss a potential personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. Although New Mexico does not have an official law regarding headphone use, that does not preclude an accident victim from holding the at-fault party responsible in a civil lawsuit under the theory of negligence. The New Mexico auto accident attorneys at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in understanding your rights and remedies. Contact the dedicated attorneys at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage and New Mexico Hit-and-Run Accidents, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 1, 2018.

Federal Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant under Daubert Standard, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 17, 2018.