New Mexico Worst State for Pedestrian Fatalities, Hit-and-Runs

- Samuel Kane

An Albuquerque man was walking in the Four Hills at around 6:15 p.m. on a recent Wednesday when he was suddenly struck by a vehicle, later identified from security footage as a Chevrolet pickup.  The driver of the Chevrolet sped off from the scene, leaving the man to his injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. This is one of an increasing number of pedestrian deaths across the state of New Mexico which, according to recent studies, is among the worst states in the country in terms of fatal pedestrian accidents and hit-and-run crashes.  Continue reading for details about the recent studies, and contact an experienced Las Cruces pedestrian accident attorney if you’ve been injured by a negligent or reckless driver in southern New Mexico.

New Mexico has highest fatal hit-and-run rates in the country according to recent study

Hit-and-run collisions are accidents in which at least one person involved in the accident flees the scene without offering information or aid to the other people involved in the crash, and/or fails to properly report the crash to the DMV or the police.  Leaving behind an accident scene not only makes the investigation process more complicated and costly, but it can also delay emergency response time, causing injuries to get worse and increase the possibility of severe injury or death following an accident.  Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, regardless of whether you were at fault, and it can increase the potential for and the amount of civil liability for a negligent driver.

According to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were 1,980 hit-and-run crashes nationally in 2016, resulting in 2,049 deaths.  This is an all-time high number for hit-and-run crashes and fatalities since they started keeping track in the 1970s, and represents more than a 10% increase from 2015.

The AAA reports New Mexico has the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes of any state in the country.  New Mexico saw 31 hit-and-run fatalities in 2016, a nearly 50% jump from 2015. Given that New Mexico has only 2 million people, these numbers are alarming.

New Mexico is the deadliest state for pedestrians

New Mexico residents also face some alarming statistics in terms of accidents involving pedestrians.  According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), New Mexico had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in 2017, with 3.53 deaths per 100,000 people.  More than 400 people were struck by vehicles in Albuquerque alone, leading to 34 of the 68 total car accident fatalities in the city, more than San Diego and around the same as Philadelphia and Chicago, cities with nearly four times Albuquerque’s population.  Across New Mexico, there were 82 pedestrian fatalities going into the 2018 holidays, up from 77 in 2016 and 79 in 2017. As an illustration of how bad that number really is, the next state with the population closest to New Mexico is Nevada, where there were just 11 pedestrian deaths in 2016.

AAA stated that part of the reason for the combination of more hit-and-run and pedestrian fatalities is that drivers are more likely to flee after a crash that involves the death of a pedestrian or bicycle rider, as compared to a vehicle occupant death, given that a crash severe enough to kill a vehicle occupant is likely to render the car undriveable and prevent fleeing.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash in New Mexico, contact the dedicated and professional Las Cruces personal injury lawyer Samuel I. Kane for a free consultation on your case at 575-526-5263.