• Accident Causes

    What Causes So Many Accidents on Lead and Coal?

    Albuquerque (October 21, 2021) – A new report shows that there were almost 2,000 car crashes on Lead Avenue and Coal Avenue between 2005 and 2019 that resulted in more than $500 in property damage, injury, or death. These one-way arterial streets have been a major problem area for traffic since the 1950s and have undergone continuous road work over the years in various attempts to make the roadways safer.

    According to crash reports obtained from the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), the most common contributing factor to accidents on Lead and Coal since 2005 has been driver inattention. Other significant contributors to the high rate of accidents in the area include failure to yield the right of way, disregarding traffic signals, alcohol or drug impairment, and speeding. Source: KRQE

    UNM Identifies Top Contributing Factors in Crashes

    Statewide (September 30, 2021) – Data compiled from the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Traffic Research Unit has yielded the top three contributing factors to traffic accidents across the state. Between 2015 and 2019, it appears that driver inattention was the primary contributing factor to all crashes, at an average of 20.5%.

    Failure to yield the right of way trailed behind, contributing to an average of 13.8% of all car accidents, motorcycle accidents, semi-truck accidents, and bicycle/pedestrian accidents in the five-year period. Following too closely was next, contributing to an average of 11.4% of all crashes.

    Notably, top contributing factors to accidents resulting in fatalities varied significantly. Annual reports indicate that drug or alcohol use contributed to an average of 51.3% of all deadly accidents between 2015 and 2019. Source: UNM

    What’s Causing So Many Accidents Along I-40?

    Albuquerque (September 16, 2021) – Two people were killed and a third person critically injured on Sunday in a head-on crash that occurred on Interstate 40, near Route 66 Casino. The area is no stranger to serious car accidents—KRQE has reported at least nine serious crashes there in the past three years, some involving semi-trucks, others ending in multi-car pileups.

    The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) has reported that the area has a high number of commercial vehicles and that most accidents occur when people are getting on and off the highway.

    But NMDOT spokesperson Kim Gallegos says the principal causes of these car accidents are often speeding and driver distraction. “It is a heavily trafficked area because of the casino so just take your time,” she said. “It is a scary, fast interstate.” Source: KRQE

    Speeding Enforcement Program Aims to Curb Pedestrian Deaths

    Albuquerque (August 26, 2021) – New legislation was passed this week by the Albuquerque City Council Finance and Government Affairs committee to create a mobile speeding enforcement program. The program is intended to help reduce pedestrian deaths caused by speeding.

    Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller supported the legislation. “We need drivers to slow down and save lives and we think that mobile speed enforcement can help get us there,” he said in a statement. Pedestrian accident deaths made up more than 20% of all road fatalities in New Mexico last year.

    Mobile speed enforcement was among the top recommendations by the Vision Zero initiative and has also received support from families of speeding victims and the Speeding Has a Name campaign. Source: City of Albuquerque

    Gas Stations Can Now Be Held Liable for Selling Fuel to Drunk Drivers

    Statewide (July 29, 2021) – New Mexico has become the second state in the U.S. to rule that gas stations may be held responsible for selling fuel to drunk drivers. The New Mexico Supreme Court made the announcement last week, writing in a statement that “Providing gasoline to an intoxicated driver is like providing car keys to an intoxicated driver.”

    In 2020 alone, 144 people died in alcohol-involved car accidents in New Mexico–-nearly 32.6% of all traffic deaths. Under the new precedent, gasoline vendors may be held liable if they sell fuel to a clearly intoxicated person who then goes on to cause an accident. This could leave them on the hook for thousands or even millions of dollars in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Source: KOAT

    Crashes Caused by Drinking and Driving Decline

    Statewide (July 15, 2021) – Fatal motor vehicle accidents caused by driving under the influence appear to be in decline across New Mexico. According to the most recent data from the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), deadly alcohol-involved accidents have dropped by 17.2% compared to this time last year. In total, 21.4% of fatal crashes have involved alcohol in 2021.

    Notably, the total number of fatal car accidents has actually increased since the previous two years. A total of 210 people died on New Mexico roads from January to June 2021, compared to 197 and 198 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. This represents about a 6% overall increase of deadly crashes. Source: UNM

    Speed, Pedestrian Error to Blame for Deadly Crash

    Albuquerque (June 17, 2021) – The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) says that speeding and pedestrian error led to a deadly crash between a pedestrian and a motorcyclist on Monday. The accident occurred around 3:00 a.m. near the intersection of San Pedro Drive and Copper Avenue in Northeast Albuquerque.

    According to Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, the motorcyclist and the pedestrian were both killed as a result of the accident. The pedestrian was reportedly trying to cross the street when he was struck by the motorcyclist, who was traveling south on San Pedro Drive. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. The motorcyclist was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital, but he also succumbed to his injuries. Source: KRQE

    Vision Zero Releases Top Factors in Fatal Crashes

    Albuquerque (May 27, 2021) – The city of Albuquerque has released its Vision Zero Action Plan, a citywide initiative to reduce traffic accident deaths. In addition to outlining specific steps Albuquerque can take towards making travel safer for residents, the report also contains data regarding the top factors in fatal accidents.

    According to statistics sourced from the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) between 2014 and 2018, 60% of deadly accidents involved one or more driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian who had used drugs or alcohol. 10% of accidents included some kind of pedestrian error, and 8% involved excessive speeding.

    Another 5% were caused by disregarding traffic signs or signals, 4% by failure to yield, and 6% by other kinds of improper driving. Just 2% of accidents were caused by driver inattention. Source: City of Albuquerque

    Two Back-to-Back Crashes Caused by Wrong-Way Drivers

    Albuquerque (May 6, 2021) – Albuquerque police said that two fatal accidents that occurred within 24 hours of one another were caused by wrong-way drivers. At least one of the car accidents was the result of drinking and driving.

    The first crash occurred on Interstate 25 on Saturday, when 29-year-old Brandon Barber drove his Ford F150 into another vehicle while traveling north in the southbound lanes. The driver of the other vehicle, Fernando Arrellano, is in serious condition with a traumatic brain injury. His passenger, Diego Robles Arrellano, died at the scene.

    The second crash happened just 24 hours later on Interstate 40 when an unnamed motorist driving the wrong way struck an SUV before colliding with a semi-truck. The wrong-way driver was killed, but no other injuries were reported. Source: Albuquerque Journal

    Alcohol, Speed Not Factors in Fatal Pedestrian Crash

    Albuquerque (April 15, 2021) – An unidentified pedestrian was killed on Wednesday after being struck by a car while crossing the intersection of Skyline Road and Juan Tabo Boulevard.

    According to two APD officers who saw the crash, the man was crossing Juan Tabo from east to west around midnight. One car stopped in the middle of the road as he crossed, but the driver in the next lane did not see him in the roadway and struck him. He was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died.

    The driver stayed at the scene, and it is not believed that alcohol or speeding played a role in this fatal accident. However, the area where the accident occurred is not well-lit and there are no marked crosswalks nearby. Source: KRQE

  • Accident Statistics

    September 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (October 8, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 48 traffic deaths throughout the state in September 2021. The total number of people killed this year in motor vehicle accidents is now up to 351.

    Of the 48 deaths, 29 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. 10 people were killed in pedestrian accidents, 6 died in motorcycle accidents, and 3 died in semi-truck or bus accidents. September has been the third-deadliest month for traffic deaths this year, preceded by 52 deaths in July and 51 deaths in May.

    Overall 2021 traffic fatalities are up significantly from last year, with a 16.2% increase in deaths compared to September 2020. Source: UNM

    August 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (September 9, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 40 traffic deaths throughout the state in August 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is now up to 300.

    Of the 40 deaths, 22 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. 12 people were killed in pedestrian accidents, four died in motorcycle accidents, one died in a semi-truck accident, and one died in a bicycle accident. August has been the deadliest month for pedestrians in all of 2021 and was deadlier than any month in 2020.

    Overall traffic fatalities are up significantly from last year, with a nearly 15% increase in deaths compared to August 2020. Source: UNM

    July 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (August 12, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 48 traffic deaths throughout the state in July 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is now up to 259.

    Of the 48 deaths, 29 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Nine people were killed in pedestrian accidents, six died in motorcycle accidents, two died in semi-truck or bus accidents, and two died in ATV accidents. Overall, July has been the second-deadliest month for traffic accidents this year.

    To date, about 66.9% of fatal passenger vehicle accidents have involved occupants who were not wearing seat belts. In addition, more than 83% of all deadly motorcycle accidents have involved motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets. Source: UNM

    June 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (July 8, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 41 traffic deaths throughout the state in June 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is now up to 210.

    Of the 41 deaths, 24 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Five people were killed in pedestrian accidents, four died in motorcycle accidents, five died in semi-truck or bus accidents, and three died in ATV accidents.

    Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for six deaths in June. Although about 21.4% of traffic fatalities have been alcohol-related in 2021, overall drunk driving deaths are down by nearly 40.8% compared to this time last year. Source: UNM

    May 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (June 10, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 48 traffic deaths throughout the state in May 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is now up to 168.

    Of the 48 deaths, 34 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Seven people were killed in pedestrian accidents, four died in motorcycle accidents, one died in a semi-truck accident, and two died in unspecified vehicle accidents.

    Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for 12 deaths in May. Although about 20.8% of traffic fatalities have been alcohol-related in 2021, overall drunk driving deaths are down by nearly 39.6% compared to this time last year. Source: UNM

    April 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (May 13, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 27 traffic deaths throughout the state in April 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is up to 117.

    Of the 27 deaths, 19 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Five people were killed in pedestrian accidents, and three died in motorcycle accidents.

    Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for five deaths in April. Although about 19.6% of traffic fatalities have been alcohol-related in 2021, overall drunk driving deaths are down by nearly 44% compared to this time last year. Source: UNM

    March 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (April 8, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 33 traffic deaths throughout the state in March 2021. The total number of people killed this year in traffic accidents is up to 87.

    Of the 33 deaths, 20 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Six people were killed in pedestrian accidents, five died in motorcycle accidents, and one person was killed in a bicycle accident.

    Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for seven deaths in March. Although about 20% of traffic fatalities have been alcohol-related in 2021, overall drunk driving deaths are down by 50% compared to this time last year. Source: UNM

    February 2021 New Mexico Traffic Fatalities

    Statewide (March 18, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 20 traffic deaths throughout the state in February 2021, a 25.9% decrease from February 2020. It’s also the lowest number of traffic accident deaths recorded in one month since November 2017.

    Of the 20 deaths, 11 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Two people were killed in semi-truck or bus crashes. An additional five people were killed in pedestrian accidents, along with one bicyclist and one person in an unknown vehicle type.

    Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for just three deaths last month, a significant decrease compared to previous years. Year to date, 14% of traffic fatalities have been alcohol-related. Source: UNM

    January 2021 New Mexico Traffic Deaths

    Statewide (February 25, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 35 traffic deaths throughout the state in January 2021, a 12.5% decrease from January 2020.

    Of the 35 deaths, 23 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. An additional 11 people were killed in pedestrian accidents, along with one motorcyclist. Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for just 5 deaths, a significant decrease from last January.

    Although impaired crashes were down last month, the number of seat belt-related fatalities was up, with 82.6% of passenger vehicle occupants not using a restraint at the time of the accident. The Albuquerque personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys remind motorists to drive sober and to always buckle up. Source: UNM

    2020 New Mexico Annual Traffic Fatalities

    Statewide (February 4, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 389 fatalities on New Mexico roads in 2020. This number represents an overall fatality decrease of about 8.5% compared to 2019.

    All in all, 238 people were killed in car accidents, 78 people were killed in pedestrian accidents, 46 people were killed in motorcycle accidents, 11 people were killed in bus or semi-truck accidents, and 8 people were killed in ATV accidents throughout 2020.

    In fatal car accidents, it was noted that 65.1% of deceased occupants were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. In addition, data indicates that 130 deaths (about 33.4%) were attributed to alcohol-involved accidents. Source: UNM

  • News

    Red Light Runners Plague Isleta-Arenal Curve

    Albuquerque (October 14, 2021) – Some members of the Albuquerque community are raising the alarm about the stoplight at Isleta Boulevard and Arenal Road. They say that the slightly curved intersection attracts careless drivers who run red lights there on a daily basis.

    Local news station KRQE News 13 spent about half an hour observing the intersection earlier this week and spotted at least 20 drivers who made a right turn through a red light without stopping, and dozens more who did a California roll.

    Although the Bernalillo County’s Public Works Department says the intersection is safe, locals are deeply concerned about the lack of enforcement of traffic laws in this busy area. Many are also worried about the increased risk of car accidents there. Source: KRQE News 13

    Hot Air Balloon Pilot Had Drugs in His System Prior to Crash

    Albuquerque (September 23, 2021) – A new report released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicates that a pilot had traces of drugs in his system when his hot air balloon crashed. Blood and urine tests indicated that Nicholas Meleski had used marijuana and cocaine in the days leading up to the deadly June 26 accident.

    Meleski died in the crash, along with passengers Mary Martinez, Marty Martinez, Susan Montoya, and John Montoya. According to initial reports from Albuquerque Fire Rescue, the hot air balloon struck a power line, causing the balloon gondola to fall about 100 feet.

    Family members of the deceased have since voiced concerns that although intoxication may not have caused the accident, Meleski’s recent drug use may have been a contributing factor. Source: KOB4

    ABQ International Balloon Fiesta Announces COVID-19 Measures

    Albuquerque (September 2, 2021) – The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has announced new safety measures ahead of its annual hot air balloon festival that takes place from October 2 to October 10, 2021.

    All event attendees are required to wear a face mask in indoor areas and crowded outdoor settings. In addition, the indoor Balloon Discovery Center will be closed, and the Music Fiesta has been cancelled. Increased handwashing and hand sanitizer stations will be provided, and physical distancing will be encouraged.

    If you are headed to the Balloon Fiesta this year, Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys reminds you to follow all CDC guidelines and to brush up on your hot air balloon safety before you go. If you are injured at the fiesta this year, call us at 505-544-4444. Source: Balloon Fiesta

    Family Devastated to Find Loved One’s Remains at Crash Site

    Albuquerque (August 19, 2021) – The family of 18-year-old Hector Sanchez was shocked by what they discovered at the site where he died in a fiery car crash last week.

    Sanchez’s mother, Bilga Esparza, went with other family members to the accident site on I-40 east of Laguna on Monday to set up a memorial. There they found what they believe to be Sanchez’s right hand, nose, and personal belongings.

    Now Esparza and her family are seeking answers, saying they were not notified of Hector’s death until four days after the accident, despite the fact that they filed a missing persons report and found paperwork at the crash site that should have identified him. The hand has been turned over to the Office of Medical Investigator (OMI) for identification. Source: KRQE

    Albuquerque May Bring Back Speed Vans

    Albuquerque (August 5, 2021) – Albuquerque is considering bringing back speed vans, an initiative many residents seem to support. Vision Zero recently released a report showing that nearly 63% of those surveyed are in favor of implementing automated mobile speed enforcement to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.

    Speed vans would be placed on streets with the highest numbers of injury and fatal car accidents, including East Central, West Central, and arterial streets in the north and southeast heights. Many also support installing the vans in school zones. Officials hope that speed vans will free up police officers so they can respond to serious crimes.

    Nearly half of those surveyed also supported issuing citations to drivers who drive more than 10 miles an hour above the posted speed limit if caught by the speed van’s camera. Source: KRQE

    Volunteer Firefighter Killed While Responding to Accident

    Truth or Consequences (July 22, 2021) – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered all flags flown at half-staff in honor of volunteer firefighter Janet Tracy, who died on Tuesday while working at the scene of a car accident south of Truth or Consequences.

    According to New Mexico State Police, 59-year-old Tracy was rendering aid to an injured victim when a fire truck driven by a fellow Caballo volunteer firefighter backed over her. The unnamed driver was trying to move the firetruck and reportedly didn’t see Tracy. She unfortunately died at the scene of her injuries.

    Investigators said that the fire truck was not equipped with a backup camera. Police are continuing to investigate this tragic accident. Source: KOAT 7

    Five People Killed in Hot Air Balloon Crash

    Albuquerque (July 1, 2021) – Five people were killed over the weekend in a hot air balloon accident in Albuquerque. The crash occurred near the intersection of Central and Unser on June 26 around 7:00 a.m.

    According to several reports, the hot air balloon crashed into a power line and the gondola fell around 100 feet while engulfed in flames. Four passengers died at the scene, with a fifth passenger succumbing to his injuries at the hospital.

    The victims were named as 59-year-old Martin Martinez, his 62-year-old wife Mary Martinez, 65-year-old Susan Montoya, her 61-year-old husband John Montoya, and 62-year-old pilot Nicholas Meleski. Hot air balloons (which are generally regarded as safe) have been involved in two deadly accidents in Albuquerque this year. Source: KOB4

    Sandia Crest Road Plagued By Motorcycle Accidents

    Albuquerque (June 24, 2021) – A popular scenic road northeast of Albuquerque is being called hazardous after three fatal motorcycle accidents in less than a month. Motorcycle riders are blaming slick pavement for the multiple deaths and injuries that have occurred on Sandia Crest Road.

    The slick pavement is apparently the result of what the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is calling “standard road maintenance”—the application of a fog seal to the asphalt, which is intended to extend the life of the road.

    But according to some riders, the fog seal, which was applied on June 7, has made the road slippery and dangerous for motorcyclists, even those who are licensed, safe riders. NMDOT claims the fog seal was placed correctly and is not hazardous. Source: KRQE

    1,800 Citations Issued Over Memorial Day Weekend

    Statewide (June 3, 2021) – New Mexico State Police (NMSP) issued more than 1,800 traffic citations over the holiday weekend as a part of the Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) program. In addition, police responded to 37 car accidents between May 29 and May 31. Fortunately, none were fatal.

    In addition to more than 100 citations for not wearing a seatbelt, police officers also issued citations for moving violations and arrested 18 drivers on suspicion of drunk driving. Ten more suspects were arrested during the operation for drug-related crimes.

    NMSP also conducted more than 300 inspections of large trucks and issued 120 citations to commercial vehicle drivers. State Police encourage all motorists to follow traffic laws and will continue holiday travel operations throughout the rest of 2021. Source: NMDPS

    Thunderstorms, Hail, and Tornadoes Touch Down in NM

    Eastern New Mexico (May 20, 2021) – Spring showers turned into a full-blown storm early this week in many parts of eastern New Mexico. The Santa Fe region was hit by rain, hail, and even several landspout tornadoes on Monday.

    At least one car accident occurred during the downpour when a silver Lincoln crashed into a utility pole, knocking out power on Jemez Road. There were also reports of high winds in Santo Domingo Pueblo, which tore off the roof of one resident’s home.

    Although the stormy weather seems to have passed for now, meteorologists warn that higher temperatures returning this weekend could now lead to an extreme fire risk. Our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers remind New Mexicans to heed fire warnings and drive safely in inclement weather. Source: Sante Fe New Mexican