New Mexico has highest number of distracted driving deaths

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A recent study shows New Mexico is leading the country in deadly car crashes from distracted driving. The study is compiled of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New Mexico sits at a nearly 41% rate of deadly crashes involving distracted driving. That’s 12% higher than Hawaii which sits at number two on the list. It is also more than five times the national rate.

The data in this study is concerning for New Mexico State Police. 

“Those numbers are pretty alarming,” said Wilson Silver, a NMSP spokesperson. 

According to the study, cell phones are the number one distractions causing deadly car crashes across the country for distracted drivers.

Mobile phone distraction is something state police say they are no stranger to spotting on our roads.

“Our officers see it all the time,” said Silver. “People, you know, want to make a phone call. They want to send a quick text. So what do you do when you make that phone call, or you send that quick text? You take your eyes off the road.”

The data in the study and state police say cell phones are not the only distraction causing deadly crashes. 

“It can be anything you know, from talking to your passengers. You know, to reading, to putting on makeup,” Silver said.

When it comes to staying safe on the road, state police say there are some things that can wait.

“You can wait to send a text, you can wait to call somebody, or if you need to do so pull over somewhere where it’s safe,” said Silver. 

Albuquerque police made an effort just last month to crack down on people using their phones while driving because of an uptick in distracted driving.