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New Mexico Leads US In Teen Driver Fatality Rate

Teen checks phone and GPS while driving in New Mexico.

Awareness and education may reduce deadly teen car accidents.

New Mexico holds the unfortunate distinction of being the No. 1 state in the United States for teen driving deaths.

With a staggering rate of 9.66 deaths per 10,000 licensed teens, no state has more fatal car accidents involving teens than in New Mexico. The summer is a particularly dangerous time for teens and other drivers.

Similar to the nationwide trend, New Mexico experiences a concerning surge in fatal car accidents involving teenagers during what is known as the "100 Deadliest Days of Summer" - Memorial Day through Labor Day. Summertime teen driver-related crashes accounted for nearly half of the deaths in teen-driver crashes from 2011 to 2020, with 7,316 fatalities nationwide, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Often, the factors contributing to fatal youth crashes are choices - like speeding or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. With increased awareness, people can make better choices. Here's what everyone needs to know about teenage driver-involved car accidents and the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer in New Mexico.

New Mexico teen driver statistics

Understanding why teen drivers are more prone to crashes can help prevent future accidents. Fatal teen crashes tend to happen near cities and nearby suburbs. In 2021, multiple fatal crashes involving young drivers occurred in and around Albuquerque, Farmington, Las Cruces, Demming, and Clovis. State Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos also experienced multiple deadly accidents involving teens that year.

  • Fatal crashes involving young drivers shot up 30% in New Mexico in 2021. There were 64 fatal accidents involving young drivers that year.
  • Over five years, 2017-2021, there were 255 fatal car accidents in New Mexico involving "young drivers" ages 15-20.
  • Of the 255 accidents, 103 involved distracted driving, and 199 involved speeding.
  • Almost half of the fatal accidents in New Mexico involving teens are single-vehicle crashes.
  • Alcohol is a factor in about 1 in 5 fatal crashes involving teen drivers.

Safe summer driving

To help stop these devastating accidents, it's important for parents, friends, and people in the community to engage in open conversations about responsible driving and being a good driving role model for others. Remember: Even if your son or daughter doesn't drive, educating them about safe driving is still important. That way, they can recognize it, speak up, or decline a ride if they encounter unsafe driving behaviors. Here are some safe driving tips for the summer:

  • Buckle up and ensure all passengers are properly restrained.
  • Avoid distractions such as phone use, eating, or other distracting activities while driving.
  • Observe speed limits and adjust speed according to road and weather conditions.
  • Never drink and drive; use alternative transportation or designate a sober driver.
  • Maintain a safe following distance to allow for adequate reaction time and prevent rear-end collisions.
  • Limit nighttime driving when visibility is reduced and the risk of drowsy driving increases.
  • Practice defensive driving by anticipating and taking evasive measures if necessary.

Help for New Mexico car accident victims

At Szantho Law Firm, we understand the urgent need to address the high rate of teen driving deaths in New Mexico. By raising awareness about the factors contributing to these tragic accidents and supporting victims and their families, we can bring about positive change.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a New Mexico accident involving a young driver, contact Szantho Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We can listen to the details of what happened, explain how the law applies to your situation, and help you decide what to do next. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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