New Mexico Drunk Driving Statistics – Reason to celebrate?

New Mexico Drunk Driving is in the news again, but this time its not all bad. On the same hand, its not all good either. NPR recently reported on New Mexico’s affliction with drunk driving, and more specifically that it moved from leading the nation in drunk driving deaths in the 90’s, to its current ranking of 17th. The article noted that New Mexico’s fall from the 10 worst states for drunk driving deaths allowed for an extra $1.5 million dollars in federal money.

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So far so good. New Mexico lowers its drunk driving rate, and gets a wad of cash in the process. However, the story on New Mexico drunk driving goes on to ask the burning question of “Why” the drop in drunk driving.

At first, the reduced drunk driving deaths in New Mexico is attributed to the ignition interlock system for which New Mexico was the first state to require the installation of after a DWI conviction. However, another Albuquerque DWI expert was interviewed as part of the study and recommends New Mexico not start patting itself on the back.

She claims that the decrease in New Mexico DWI rates is also, at least partially, attributed to a change in how the statistics are reported. It used to be that the DWI rate was based on DWI deaths per capita. This is how it was tabulated when New Mexico led the nation. The method later changed to calculated DWI deaths per miles per year traveled by each resident. Considering New Mexico is a spread out state, and many New Mexico drivers travel hundreds of miles a week, the statistics went down.

This would suggest that even though the national rating has changed, the problem is still as big as ever. Of course, as long as New Mexico moves lower and lower on the list, there is still reason to applaud. Although our New Mexico personal injury attorneys represent many drunk driving victims, this is one type of case that New Mexico has always seemed to have plenty of.