NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The numbers are out and they are grim. 2021 has been the deadliest year ever on New Mexico’s roads. However, there is a bright spot.
New data shows that in 2021, families and friends of 110 New Mexicans were affected by drunk driving when their loved one was killed in an accident. Lindsey Valdez with Mothers against Drunk Driving says 110 New Mexicans killed in alcohol-related crashes is still way too many.
However, this is a drastic improvement over past years. Jeff Barela works for the NMDOT and says his team was pleased with the drop in alcohol-related crashes from 176 in 2019 to 110 in 2021, now at their lowest level in 20 years. “We saw a 26% decrease in alcohol-related deaths,” Barela said.
However, the agency’s annual road safety report did not contain all the good news. “The number of deaths, they are very concerning. We saw an 18% increase in the total number of road deaths in New Mexico,” Barela said.
On the other side of the coin, the total number of road deaths is at its highest level in at least the past 10 years, rising from 425 in 2019 to 470 in 2021,” Barela said.
Barela said his team is focusing on new ways to target speeders, distracted drivers and people with road rage in hopes of hitting New Mexico’s roads after all kinds of dangerous drivers.
So far in 2022, data shows that overall fatal crashes and alcohol-related fatal crashes are down significantly from previous years.