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Home News Youth & Young Adult Motor Vehicle Crashes Decrease
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Youth & Young Adult Motor Vehicle Crashes Decrease

October 25, 2019 - Public Relations - Information

The New Mexico Department of Health today reports the number of motor vehicle crashes – the leading cause of death nationally among 15-to-20-year-olds – declined in our state in 2018 compared to the year before.

The decline in 2018 numbers is an improvement on the 2017 numbers, which were the highest they’d been in the previous five years.

“These new numbers are great news, but we can – and should – still strive for better,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “While provisional licensing and zero tolerance laws have been shown to be effective in preventing teen driving accidents, the impact of parents’ role modeling good driving behavior such as not texting while driving, not driving while under the influence, and following traffic laws should not be discounted.”  

New Mexico follows a zero-tolerance law for those under 21 driving impaired. That means if someone under the age of 21 is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher they could be charged with a DWI. That level increases to 0.08% for those 21 and over.

Teens in our state must hold a provisional license for at least 12 months before they qualify for a full-unrestricted driver’s license. While holding a provisional license, teens cannot have more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not an immediate family member and may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a licensed, responsible adult. Exceptions may include work permits, school or religious functions, family and medical emergencies.

The 2018 youth and young adult motor vehicle crash data shows:

  • Fifty-eight New Mexico youth and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 died in a motor vehicle crash in 2018. That’s down from 65 in 2017.
  • Another 165 were admitted to the hospital for injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes in 2018. This is down from 190 in 2017.

According to the data from the National Highway Safety Administration, 75 percent of serious teen driver crashes in the United States are due to "critical errors" such as a lack of scanning needed to detect and respond to hazards, going too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.

A 2017 survey found 39.6 percent of New Mexico high school students admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving during the past 30 days. More than seven percent reported that they never or rarely wore a seatbelt, and more than six percent admitted to drinking and driving within that same time period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers tips to parents on how to talk to their teenage children about safe driving at the Parents: Talk to Your Teen Driver About Safe Driving site.

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Accidentes de Vehículos de Motor Disminuyen en Jóvenes & Jóvenes Adultos