SANTA FE— Thursday, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that fatal alcohol-related crashes on New Mexico’s roads and highways decreased by 13.7 percent from 2012 to 2013, demonstrating that the state’s increased measures to make the roads safer are working. Traffic fatalities as a whole also decreased by nearly 16 percent from 2012 to 2013.
“This progress shows that the hard work of New Mexico’s law enforcement and public safety officials is saving more lives,” Martinez said. “While there is still much work to be done to make our roads and highways safer, like cracking down on repeat DWI offenders, New Mexicans are grateful for the work our law enforcement and public safety officials do every day to keep us safe.”
According to data from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, fatalities in alcohol-related crashes decreased by 13.7% from 2012 to 2013, and fatalities in all motor vehicle crashes decreased from 367 in 2012 to 310 in 2013, a decrease of 15.8%. A decade ago, in 2003, 214 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. Ten years later, in 2013, that number has gone down to 133 alcohol-related deaths. That is a 38 percent reduction over a 10 year period, and a 13.7 percent reduction over just one year.
“Impaired driving, whether through alcohol or drugs, has always been an issue in our state, and I’m glad that New Mexico seems to be headed in the right direction,” said Richard Woodward, whose great-grandson was killed by an impaired driver. “I’m also grateful for Gov. Martinez’s leadership in increasing prevention and awareness, tightening enforcement and enacting tougher penalties against impaired drivers.”
Woodward shared his heartbreaking story at today’s press conference. After picking up his 18-month-old twin great-grandbabies, a driver high on meth struck his vehicle and killed one of his great-grandchildren.
The New Mexico State Police (NMSP), the Motor Transportation Police (NMMTP), the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), and other law enforcement and public safety officials across the state have aggressively stepped up efforts to improve safety on New Mexico’s roadways.
These efforts include DWI Task Forces, increased manpower and patrols in targeted areas, partnerships with county, municipal, and other local law enforcement, making seatbelt enforcement a priority, and actively utilizing online tools like Facebook and Twitter to keep the public informed and emphasize safety.
Martinez also recently signed legislation to ban texting while driving. Distracted drivers pose a serious danger to fellow motorists on New Mexico’s streets, roads and highways, especially among our youth, and most other states have banned the practice of texting while driving. By signing this law, Martinez made New Mexico the 42nd state to ban texting while driving.