In 2019, the New Mexico Department of Transportation reported that New Mexico’s crash rate was at its highest level in at least five years. More than 48,000 traffic crashes were reported on public roadways. Crashes involved almost 120,000 people, with 20,415 people injured and 425 people killed. While the numbers for 2020 and 2021 are not available yet, the trends are concerning for drivers in Albuquerque.

To put this into perspective, here are some of the statistics released by the NMDOT.

  • A motor vehicle crash occurred every 11 minutes.
  • A crash occurred in Bernalillo County every 27 minutes.
  • A person was injured in a crash every 26 minutes.
  • A distracted-driving crash occurred every 57 minutes.
  • A semi/large-truck crash occurred every 3 hours.
  • An alcohol-involved crash occurred every 4 hours.
  • A person was killed or injured in an alcohol-involved crash every 5 hours.
  • A motorcycle was involved in a crash every 8 hours.
  • A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle every 13 hours.
  • A person was killed in a crash every 22 hours.
  • A bicyclist was hit by a vehicle every 23 hours.

Being on the streets in Albuquerque may feel dangerous, based on these numbers, but it’s a risk most of us take daily. As a driver, there are many things you can do to mitigate your risk. Being aware of the most common causes of accidents in New Mexico can help.

What causes car accidents in New Mexico?

The most common cause of a car accident, causing 19.3% of crashes in 2019, was driver inattention aka “distracted driving.” This has become especially prevalent with the rise of cell phone use by drivers. Texting and driving is dangerous. Anything that takes your attention away from your surroundings as you drive has a higher chance of causing an accident.

In addition to driver inattention, failing to yield the right of way or following too closely lead to 25% of accidents in 2019. All three of these factors are within the control of the driver and negligence in these areas leads to injury, economic loss, and even death.

The most common factor for crash-related deaths was alcohol or drug use. 53.4% of fatalities on the road can be attributed to drunk driver crashes. A smaller, but significant, percentage of fatalities were caused by driving over the center line and excessive speeds.

In addition to these top causes, there are many other factors that might cause an accident, including:

  • Driving too fast for conditions (inclement weather),
  • Improper turns, such as U-turns,
  • Improper lane changes,
  • Improper backing,
  • Disregarding traffic signals
  • Pedestrian error, such as jay walking,
  • Mechanical defects in a car, such as inadequate brakes or defective tires,
  • Road defects, such as potholes.

Injuries from Car Accidents

Most crashes involve another vehicle, but a good portion of them involve pedestrians, bicyclists, or fixed objects. Because a car can have such a devastating effect on cars and people, the list of possible injuries is extensive.

Whiplash, concussions, broken bones, lacerations, burns, and bruises are some of the more minor injuries, but serious injuries are also possible. Head injuries, internal organ damage, paralysis, and death are possible outcomes.

Dealing with these injuries may cause you to miss work, have expensive medical bills, and emotional distress. Your life could be altered in permanent ways. After seeking medical help, it is important to consult with an Albuquerque car accident attorney to determine if you can receive compensation and recover costs.