New Mexico Fatal Accident Study:

New Mexico’s Deadliest Roads and Fatal Accident Statistics

MoneyGeek’s study covered 1,060 crashes resulting in fatalities between 2017 and 2019. We identified the deadliest stretches of roads in New Mexico and determined the various factors associated with fatal accidents.

Last Updated: 4/26/2022
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From 2017 to 2019, 1,060 fatal crashes occurred in New Mexico. MoneyGeek studied 459 roads out of the 150,216 miles of road in the state to determine which stretches were most dangerous. We also explored how some driver behaviors, like distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving, contributed to these crashes. Additionally, our analysis considered factors like weather and time of year. MoneyGeek provides a data summary for each county in New Mexico, including the deadliest road in each.

Key Findings

  • Central Ave. from San Mateo Blvd. SE to Dorado PI. SE in Albuquerque is the deadliest stretch of road in New Mexico. From 2017 to 2019, 15 fatal crashes occurred there.
  • Speeding contributed to 35% of accidents; drunk driving was involved in 28%.
  • Distracted driving was involved in 36% of accidents. According to MoneyGeek’s distracted driving study, New Mexico is the worst state for distracted driving in the country.
  • 10.6% of deadly accidents occurred in October, the most of any month. December (9.2%) and July (8.9%) had the following two highest numbers of crashes, respectively.
  • Bernalillo had more fatal accidents than any other county. I-40 was the site of the highest number of crashes.

10 Deadliest Road Stretches in New Mexico


  • DEADLIEST ROAD IN NEW MEXICO
    Central Ave. from San Mateo Blvd. SE to Dorado PI. SE
    Albuquerque
    Central Ave. from San Mateo Blvd. SE to Dorado PI. SE
    • Fatal Accidents:15
    • fatalities:15
    • Crashes Per Mile:3.2
    • distance:4.7 miles
  • I-40 from Exit 154 to Exit 158
    Albuquerque
    I-40 from Exit 154 to Exit 158
    • Fatal Accidents:9
    • fatalities:10
    • Crashes Per Mile:2.2
    • distance:4.1 miles
  • SR-45 Redlands Rd. NW to Central Ave. SW
    Albuquerque
    SR-45 Redlands Rd. NW to Central Ave. SW
    • Fatal Accidents:9
    • fatalities:9
    • Crashes Per Mile:3.3
    • distance:2.7 miles
  • SR-118 from Navajo Blvd. to Rehoboth Dr.
    Gallup | Church Rock
    SR-118 from Navajo Blvd. to Rehoboth Dr.
    • Fatal Accidents:7
    • fatalities:8
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.7
    • distance:4.0 miles
  • I-40 from Exit 140 to Lost Horizon Dr. NW
    Albuquerque | Other
    I-40 from Exit 140 to Lost Horizon Dr. NW
    • Fatal Accidents:6
    • fatalities:7
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.2
    • distance:4.8 miles
  • I-25 from Exit 232 to Exit 226A
    Albuquerque
    I-25 from Exit 232 to Exit 226A
    • Fatal Accidents:6
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.3
    • distance:4.8 miles
  • Gibson Blvd. SE from Valencia Dr. SE to Broadstone Way
    Albuquerque
    Gibson Blvd. SE from Valencia Dr. SE to Broadstone Way
    • Fatal Accidents:6
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:2.3
    • distance:2.6 miles
  • US-62 from Red Cloud Rd. to E-38
    Lea County
    US-62 from Red Cloud Rd. to E-38
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.1
    • distance:4.5 miles
  • Central Ave from 1st St. SW to Volcano Rd. NW
    Albuquerque
    Central Ave from 1st St. SW to Volcano Rd. NW
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:5
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.1
    • distance:4.5 miles
  • SR-45 from Kirsten Rd SW to Huseman PI. SW
    Albuquerque
    SR-45 from Kirsten Rd SW to Huseman PI. SW
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:5
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.7
    • distance:2.9 miles

Drunk Driving Involved in 28% of Fatal Accidents

Out of the 1,060 recorded fatal crashes in New Mexico between 2017 and 2019, 296 were associated with drunk driving.

State law considers drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8% legally drunk. However, alcohol begins impairing your ability to operate a car at a lower BAC. A BAC of 0.2% is enough to cause slow reaction time, lack of coordination and reduced concentration.

The cost of drunk driving is high, even if it doesn’t result in fatalities. At the very least, your license might be suspended and your driving privileges restricted. Worst case scenario, you could face possible jail time. Another guaranteed outcome is less affordable auto insurance in New Mexico.

Speeding Is a Factor in 35% of Fatal Crashes

From 2017 to 2019, speeding contributed to 370 fatal crashes in New Mexico. That’s 35% of the total number of accidents resulting in deaths recorded in the state.

Driving your car above the legal speed limit has several consequences, such as a higher likelihood of losing control and increased stopping distance. It also increases the probability of a severe injury since speeding minimizes the effectiveness of protective equipment inside and outside your car.

Distracted Driving Contributed to 36% of Fatal Accidents

Distracted driving was involved in 382 deadly crashes in the state, or 36% of all accidents that resulted in death. MoneyGeek’s distracted driving study found that New Mexico is the worst state in the U.S. for distracted driving and has the highest distracted driving fatality rate in the country.

October Had More Fatal Accidents Than Any Other Month

MoneyGeek also looked at when most fatal accidents occurred during the year. October had the highest number of crashes of any month, with 112 resulting in death; that translates to 10.6% of all fatal accidents in New Mexico between 2017 and 2019. After October, the two months with the next-highest incidents of deadly crashes are December (98) and July (94).

Average Fatal Accidents by Month
Month
Fatal Accidents
Drunk Driving Related
Distracted Driving Related
Winter Conditions
Speeding Related
% of Total

January

80

22

22

4

27

7.5%

February

74

20

29

1

31

7.0%

March

88

28

40

2

37

8.3%

April

77

22

31

0

24

7.3%

May

89

26

30

0

39

8.4%

June

86

19

30

0

27

8.1%

July

94

30

38

0

24

8.9%

August

93

21

39

0

28

8.8%

September

92

28

32

0

33

8.7%

October

112

28

30

2

35

10.6%

November

77

20

27

0

27

7.3%

December

98

32

34

3

38

9.2%

Driving Safely Protects You, Others and Your Wallet

Being a safe driver doesn’t just help save lives — it also allows you to manage your finances better. Sometimes, accidents happen no matter how hard we try to drive carefully, pointing to the necessity of car insurance. Having coverage is one way to ensure you and your loved ones have protection.

The average cost of full coverage insurance in New Mexico is $1,133 per year on average. The average cost of auto insurance in Albuquerque, the state's most populous city, is the same. Drivers in other cities may have different rates, though.

The premiums mentioned above only reflect average rates. Remember that you may receive a different quote based on your age, driving history and other individualized factors. Costs also vary between insurers, so comparing quotes from multiple providers can help you find the cheapest car insurance company for your needs.

Fatal Accidents and Most Dangerous Roads: County Breakdown

The five counties in New Mexico with the most occurrences of fatal accidents accounted for nearly 60% of all crashes resulting in deaths. That translates to 634 incidents in three years.

Bernalillo had 287 fatal crashes, the most of any county. Most of these happened along I-4 and involved distracted driving and speeding.

Fatal Accidents and Contributing Factors By County
County
Fatalities
Fatal Accidents
Drunk Driving Related
Distracted Driving Related
Speeding Related
Most Deadly Road (Fatal Accidents)

Bernalillo

287

270

60

78

81

I-40 (24)

San Juan

105

89

31

28

33

US-491 (15)

Mckinley

97

79

26

28

36

I-40 (20)

Dona Ana

75

69

15

28

22

I-10 (9)

Lea

70

58

19

29

13

SR-128 (12)

Santa Fe

51

50

15

15

15

SR-14 (6)

Sandoval

56

47

20

15

21

US-550 (14)

Eddy

50

45

11

27

19

US-285 (11)

Rio Arriba

34

32

13

10

8

US-84 (7)

Cibola

37

31

9

15

15

I-40 (18)

Valencia

30

29

8

6

14

SR-47 (11)

Chaves

31

28

8

18

12

US-285 (9)

Torrance

29

24

3

9

9

I-40 (8)

Otero

25

22

6

9

13

US-82 (5)

Taos

23

20

11

4

8

SR-68 (6)

Curry

18

17

4

2

6

SR-209 (2)

Luna

19

17

3

6

6

I-10 (11)

Guadalupe

24

17

2

8

2

I-40 (10)

Lincoln

16

14

6

6

8

US-70 (3)

Hidalgo

22

12

1

3

3

I-10 (10)

Colfax

14

12

3

7

3

I-25 (6)

Grant

14

12

3

10

5

I-10 (5)

San Miguel

13

12

5

6

3

I-25 (5)

Socorro

10

10

0

0

3

I-25 (6)

Roosevelt

11

10

2

3

2

US-70 (7)

Sierra

9

9

4

4

3

I-25 (4)

Catron

7

7

5

3

3

US-60 (4)

Mora

8

7

1

1

1

I-25 (4)

Quay

4

4

0

1

1

I-40 (4)

De Baca

3

3

1

1

0

US-60 (3)

Union

3

3

1

2

2

US-64 (2)

Los Alamos

1

1

0

0

0

Ridgecrest Ave (1)

Methodology

Using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) database, MoneyGeek analyzed fatality data from 2017, 2018 and 2019. Currently, 2019 is the latest data available in the system.

About the Author


expert-profile

Doug Milnes is the head of marketing and communications at MoneyGeek. He has spent more than a decade in corporate finance performing valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies including OpenTable. He holds a master’s degree in Predictive Analytics (Data Science) from Northwestern University and is a CFA charter holder. Doug geeks out on building financial and predictive models and using data to make informed decisions.


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