Teenagers in New Mexico and elsewhere are most likely to engage in distracted driving, according to a recent study. The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in September.
Court records indicate that the Thanksgiving holiday is a time of increased drunk driving in New Mexico. From Wednesday to Sunday around Thanksgiving 2018, law enforcement arrested 53 people for drinking and driving in Bernalillo County. During the same four-day period in 2017, 49 arrests were made. One 26-year-old man was allegedly seen by police going 115 mph on I-40, racing another car, when he was stopped and arrested for DWI.
When people get behind the wheel in New Mexico, they could actually be taking their lives in their hands. Statistics issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that for Americans aged 44 and under, the leading cause of death is accidental injury. In 2016 alone, 61,749 people were killed due to unintentional injuries; this number is more than twice the total of those killed in the same age group by cancer and heart disease combined. There were a number of different types of fatal accidental injuries, but the most common were motor vehicle crashes and poisonings.
Driving in bright sunlight can present some safety issues. There is a 16 percent higher chance of having a life-threatening crash in bright sunlight compared to normal weather, but there are steps that people in New Mexico can take to make it less dangerous.
For many people in New Mexico, driving on Halloween can result in severe car accidents and the injuries that follow. As people go out to Halloween parties and spend the night trick-or-treating, they could face an escalated risk on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween night is the most dangerous time for drunk driving. More people are killed in DWI-related crashes between 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 1 than at any other time of the year.
Many people in New Mexico are curious about the potential of self-driving cars to change the future of transportation. While several car accidents involving autonomous vehicles have made the news, these crashes usually involve something of interest or noteworthy to the general population. However, many more mundane crashes occur in areas where self-driving cars are being tested, and most of them are the fault of human drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released figures for fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2017. In 2015 and 2016, fatalities rose, but it appears that trend began to reverse in 2017. However, based on the report, people in New Mexico may be safer from fatal crashes in rural areas than urban ones. This is a departure from 2015 and earlier years when there were more fatal motor vehicle accidents in rural locations.
Research suggests that sophisticated driver assistance technology could reduce road deaths by up to 30 percent and prevent 40 percent of all crashes, but a study released by AAA reveals that theses safety gains may come at a cost. The organization's Foundation for Traffic Safety polled 1,200 drivers who bought 2016 or 2017 model cars or SUVs equipped with features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking systems. They found that motorists in New Mexico and around the country were more likely to act recklessly while behind the wheel because they believe these features are more capable than they actually are.
Distracted driving presents a major threat to life and safety on New Mexico roads. When people pay attention to their phones rather than the road, the consequences can be severe, not only for themselves, but also for other people driving or walking nearby. While many people associate distracted driving with teens texting, the complicated reality is that people of all ages and levels of driving experience can be distracted and may pose a threat to others. One study by Motus looked at how the connected mobile workforce can contribute to distracted driving dangers. An increasing number of mobile workers are connected to their jobs through smartphones, and this has been accompanied by growth in motor vehicle accidents as well.
June through September is generally considered the rainy season in New Mexico and much of the United States. One of the biggest risks to drivers during a rain event is hydroplaning. This occurs when the car loses control while on a wet road because the tires are making contact with water instead of the road itself. In some cases, oil on the surface can mix with the rain to create a slippery mixture that can make gaining traction difficult.