Fatalities due to red-light running in New Mexico and across the United States have spiked to a 10-year-high. The report comes from data compiled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In 65% of the cases, the fatality victim had not been responsible for the crash.

In 2017, 939 people were killed in the United States in red-light running motor vehicle accidents. This number is the highest its been in 10 years and is a 28 percent increase since 2012. Though many people recently surveyed by AAA believe that red-light running is indicative of reckless driving behavior, the data shows that many people continue to run red lights.

Experts believe that distracted driving due to increased cell phone usage could be to blame. To reduce the number of red-light running fatalities, experts are encouraging drivers to take a pledge to stop driving distracted. Glancing down at a cell phone for only five seconds can be enough of a distraction for a serious accident to occur. Additionally, drivers need to also be aware of those around them on the road, always be prepared to suddenly stop and to tap the brake as approaching a yellow light to slow down gradually and warn surrounding drivers that the light will soon change to red.

When a driver runs a red light and causes a motor vehicle accident to occur, the driver may have behaved negligently and may be legally responsible for the accident. In this case, a driver who was on his or her cell phone and ran a red light might be responsible for damages if a civil claim is filed. A lawyer may use cell phone records to show that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident and the driver may have to pay compensatory damages to the victims as a result.