The Land of Enchantment has over 150,000 highway miles traveled by motorists each year. Some stretches are among the most hazardous in the nation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows New Mexico has the second-highest number of vehicle crashes per 100,000 people.
In 2020, nearly 400 people were killed, and tens of thousands of others were injured in motor vehicle accidents. According to NHTSA, Interstate 40 is the seventh most dangerous highway in the nation. Consumer website moneygeek.com studied nearly 500 state roadways and designated these 10 stretches as the deadliest, eight of which are in or near Albuquerque:
- Central Ave. from Dorado Pl. SE to San Mateo Blvd. SE – Albuquerque
- I-40 from exit 154 to exit 158 – Albuquerque
- State Road 45 Central Ave. SW to Redlands Rd. – Albuquerque
- SR-118 from Rehoboth Dr. to Navajo Blvd. – Gallup/Church Rock
- I-40 from Lost Horizon Dr. NW to exit 140 – Albuquerque
- I-25 from exit 226A to exit 232 – Albuquerque
- Gibson Blvd. SE from Broadstone Way to Valencia Dr. SE – Albuquerque
- US-62 from E-38 to Red Cloud Rd. – Lea County
- Central Ave. from Volcano Rd. NW to 1st SW – Albuquerque
- SR-45 from Huseman Pl. SW to Kirsten Rd. SW – Albuquerque
While statistics vary from year to year, NHTSA’s 2020 final statistics show that one of every three fatal crashes in the state was alcohol-related. Speeding was also responsible for just over a third of traffic deaths. Distracted drivers accounted for another significant number of fatalities.
MoneyGeek conducted a study of its own and found New Mexico has the dubious distinction of having the highest distracted driving fatality rate in the U.S. Meantime, NHTSA has tracked a surge in dangerous driving behaviors since the pandemic began, leading to the highest fatality rate on the nation’s highways since 2007.