• Accident Causes

    Forest Service Report Releases Details of Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires

    Albuquerque (July, 27 2022) – A U.S. Forest Service report finds that the agency used outdated modeling and didn’t account for some factors before starting a prescribed burn in April that became New Mexico’s largest wildfire. The agency says it followed most procedures, but the plan didn’t account for drought, steep terrain, unpredictable winds, and fast fire growth. Crews lacked manpower and water, according to the report.

    If you’ve suffered a wildfire burn injury because of negligence, contact a New Mexico personal injury lawyer from Lerner and Rowe for a free case review. Source: KOB4

    Top Causes of 2021 Vehicle Fatalities in New Mexico

    Statewide (June 29, 2022) – Data from the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s (NMDOT) Traffic Fatality Report from 2021 shows the top two causes of car accident fatalities in the state include alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt. Out of 479 fatal car accidents, 164 were alcohol related (34.2%) while 185 (38.6%) were unbelted accidents.

    Lerner and Rowe encourages all New Mexico residents to wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car. Additionally, never drive under the influence of alcohol or get in a vehicle where the driver is intoxicated. Lost a loved one due to a wrongful death accident? If so, call one of our New Mexico personal injury lawyers. Source: NMDOT

    New Year’s Eve Crash Caused by Drunk Driver

    Albuquerque (January 6, 2022) – A woman was seriously injured on New Year’s Eve when her vehicle was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver. Witnesses reported seeing a silver Toyota stopped at a red light near San Mateo and Candelaria NE, which was then struck from behind at a high rate of speed by a silver Hyundai.

    The driver of the Hyundai, 26-year-old Christian Pacheco, fled the scene of the car accident but was found about two miles away by police. He has since been charged with driving while intoxicated causing great bodily harm. Pacheco previously pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in 2019.

    The unnamed driver of the Toyota reportedly suffered a serious head injury and was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital. Source: Albuquerque Journal

    Cow Causes Fatal Semi Accident On I-40

    Santa Rosa (December 3, 2021) – Two people were killed on November 26 in a semi-truck accident on Interstate 40. New Mexico State Police (NMSP) said that the crash occurred just east of Santa Rosa around 1:58 a.m. after a 2017 Peterbilt CMV struck a cow in the road.

    After hitting the animal, the truck left the roadway, hit a guardrail, and overturned. 50-year-old driver Jorge Felix Martinez Sanchez and his passenger, 30-year-old Travis Ruiz Pizarro, were both killed.

    Police have said that they do not believe alcohol was a factor in this fatal accident. However, they did note that only the driver was properly wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. Investigation is ongoing. Source: KRQE

    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

  • Accident Statistics

    Drivers Most Likely to Be Hit by Distracted Drivers in New Mexico

    Statewide (July 7, 2022) – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorists are most likely to get hit by a distracted driver in New Mexico. Data further shows that New Mexico has twice as many distracted drivers as any other state. The most recent figures from 2020 found there were 148 deaths, or 10.05 per 100,000 licensed drivers.

    Been injured by a New Mexico distracted driver? If so, you might be eligible for compensation. Contact the Albuquerque car accident lawyers at Lerner and Rowe today to learn more about your legal options. Source: Newsweek

    Pedestrian Deaths in New Mexico Hit All-Time High

    Albuquerque (May 17, 2022) – Due to pedestrian deaths in New Mexico hitting an all-time high, officials have announced a $4-million budget to improve road and sidewalk safety. The program, called the Vision Zero campaign, aims to eliminate pedestrian deaths in the city by 2040. In 2021, 99 pedestrians were killed in New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Pedestrian deaths increased from 81 in 2020 and 83 in 2019. From 2014-2018, New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country.

    City officials are investigating specific crosswalks that appear to be hotspots for traffic incidents, according to the Albuquerque Department of Municipal Development. Along with the city improving crosswalks and conditions for pedestrians, officials urge both drivers and pedestrians to act responsibly. Source: U.S. News

    December 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (January 13, 2022) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 37 traffic deaths throughout the state in December. In total, 470 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021.

    Of the 37 deaths, 22 stemmed from SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Eleven people were killed in pedestrian accidents, two in motorcycle accidents, one in a bicycle accident, and one in a semi-truck accident.

    Overall crash deaths increased by 18.1% from 2020 to 2021. When compared to 2019 pre-pandemic statistics, traffic deaths have risen by about 10.6%. Source: UNM

    November 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (December 16, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 38 traffic deaths throughout the state in November. In total, 431 people died in motor vehicle accidents between January and November 2021.

    Of the 38 deaths, 15 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Eleven people were killed in pedestrian accidents, six in motorcycle accidents, four semi-truck accidents, one in a bicycle accident, and another in an ATV accident.

    Overall crash deaths are up by 20.4% compared to this time in 2020. In addition, about 23.4% of traffic fatalities this year have involved alcohol. Source: UNM

    October 2021 Traffic Fatalities Report

    Statewide (November 18, 2021) – According to the Traffic Research Unit at the University of New Mexico (UNM), there were 41 traffic deaths throughout the state in October 2021. The total number of people killed this year in motor vehicle accidents is now up to 396.

    Of the 41 deaths, 24 were related to SUV, pickup truck, or car accidents. Eight people were killed in pedestrian accidents, four in motorcycle accidents, one in a semi-truck accident, one in a bicycle accident, and another in an ATV accident.

    Overall 2021 traffic fatalities are up significantly since October 2020, with a 20.4% increase in deaths compared to this time last year. Source: UNM

    Hit and Run Crashes in New Mexico, 2015 – 2019

    Statewide (November 5, 2021) – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) found that 116 people were killed in hit and run crashes between 2015 and 2019. In total, hit and run crashes made up 16.6% of all motor vehicle accidents during this five year period. This is equivalent to 21 hit and run crashes every day.

    On average, about 81.2% of reported hit and run car accidents resulted in property damage only. However, injuries did result in about 18.5% of crashes. Fatal accidents made up less than half a percent of all hit and run accidents.

    If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers are available 24/7 at 505-544-4444. Source: NMDOT

    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

  • News

    Preliminary Report Released On Fatal Bernalillo County Sheriff Helicopter Crash

    Las Vegas (August 8, 2022) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary findings on the helicopter crash that killed four on July 16. The report states the helicopter crew had been in Las Vegas, NM helping fight wildfires. The crash occurred around 7:20 p.m. while en route back to Albuquerque.

    Witnesses reported that they saw the helicopter fly past them before it descended to the ground without turning. The NTSB has not yet released the entire report. Pilots must contend with a variety of difficulties, including uneven terrain, increasing air traffic, and malfunctions. Lerner and Rowe can provide empathic and fierce legal services if you’ve experienced the wrongful death of a loved one in a helicopter crash. Source: KRQE

    New Mexico Wildfires Lead to Massive Insurance Spikes

    Statewide (July 25,2022) – Wildfires and monsoons have increased 163% in New Mexico in the last two decades. New Mexico has the 13th highest homeowner’s insurance rate in the US, at $2,071 annually. This has led to predatory insurance companies that don’t pay claims, as well as contractor and insurance adjuster scams.

    Referred to as storm chasers, these contractors take advantage of those desperate to repair their homes after a natural disaster. Contact Lerner and Rowe today to analyze your insurance policies and review your legal options. Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

    Officials Caution Residents About Risks From Wildfires

    Statewide (May 12, 2022)- The Wildfire Joint Information Center (JIC) cautions residents of New Mexico to use caution and be aware of health risks from wildfire season. Residents should avoid contact with wildfire debris which may contain harmful chemicals and materials that can lead to catastrophic injuries, like asbestos, insecticides, cleaning products, propane tanks, and more.

    When cleaning up after a wildfire, avoid moving debris or ash to avoid burn injuries. NIOSH-certified respirators, like an N95 mask, are recommended to block particles. Wear protective clothing like gloves, long pants, and safety glasses. Once off-site, change shoes and clothes to avoid infecting your car, home, or other non-contaminated areas. Property owners should not remove debris until authorized from the state. Source: NMDOT

    Pedestrian Deaths Rise Despite Vision Zero Initiative

    Albuquerque (January 20, 2022) – In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller introduced a program called Vision Zero, an initiative with the lofty goal of reducing deaths and injuries from pedestrian accidents to zero by the year 2040. Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths in Albuquerque have largely stayed steady and statewide deaths are at the highest they’ve been in a decade.

    Director for the Department of Municipal Development Patrick Montoya admitted that the program still has a long way to go, with 38 pedestrian fatalities reported just in Albuquerque in 2021. A total of 99 pedestrians died last year throughout New Mexico.

    Montoya said the department is currently working on major pedestrian safety projects along Paseo Del Norte, Unser, San Pedro, McMahon, and Wyoming, including adding flashing crosswalk signals and elevated crosswalks. Source: KRQE

    Uber Offers Free Rides on New Year’s Eve Weekend

    Albuquerque (December 30, 2021) – In an effort to curb drunk driving accidents, Uber is partnering with local organizations to provide up to $150,000 in free rideshare credits (equivalent to about 2,000 rides) for the New Year’s Eve holiday weekend.

    Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residents are eligible to receive up to $15 off each of two Uber trips between now and January 3, 2022 at 3:00 a.m. Just open the Uber app and use the code NYE21 to take advantage of the “Take a Ride On Us” program.

    The best way to avoid car accidents on New Year’s Eve is to plan ahead—whether that means arranging a rideshare or designated driver, taking public transportation, or celebrating at home. Source: Bernalillo County

    NMDOT Employee Killed in Work Zone Crash

    Santa Fe (December 9, 2021) – A New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) employee was killed in a work zone accident on December 6, according to a press release by the agency. 58-year-old Mittie Runyan died Monday and had been an NMDOT employee for more than 21 years.

    At the time of the accident, Runyan was driving an NMDOT truck with her safety lights flashing on U.S. Route 285. She was reportedly hit from behind by a commercial vehicle. Under New Mexico’s Move Over Law, motorists are required to change lanes or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

    According to the website workzonesafety.org, there were at least 135 worker fatalities in work zones in 2019 alone. Source: NMDOT

    Passenger Killed in West Side Uber Accident

    Albuquerque (October 29, 2021) – An unidentified man was killed last Thursday when the Uber he was riding in was t-boned by another vehicle. Albuquerque Police Department (APD) responded to the car accident around 12:00 p.m. at the intersection of Paseo del Norte Boulevard and Universe Boulevard. At the scene, they discovered a BMW SUV that had been hit on the passenger side by a Jeep.

    The Uber driver of the BMW suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash and was transported to UNM Hospital. The Uber passenger unfortunately died at the scene, despite first responders’ best efforts. The driver of the Jeep reportedly refused medical treatment.

    Police continue to investigate this deadly accident, but no charges have been filed. While alcohol use has been ruled out, speeding may have been a factor. Source: KOB4

    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