Breaking down New Mexico traffic fatality statistics

Because New Mexico is a large state with few population centers, drivers here often travel great distances. It's more than 200 miles from Las Cruces to Albuquerque and nearly 300 to head farther north to Santa Fe. Because of the amount of highway travel residents our state often undertake, the dangers of accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities are greater in New Mexico than in many other states.

A recent study by an insurance industry organization shows that many of New Mexico's counties are placed in the Most Dangerous category.

Unfortunately, most of the western and northern counties in our state fall into the Most Dangerous category, according to the Auto Insurance Center. America's most dangerous county is La Paz in southwest Arizona, while the nation's safest county is Arlington County in Virginia.

In order to arrive at its findings, the organization analyzed more than 777,000 deadly motor vehicle accidents over the past two decades.

The numbers are often grim. Last year, for instance, more than 38,000 people lost their lives in traffic crashes, while 4.4 million more were seriously injured nationally.

As a whole, New Mexico is rated Moderately Dangerous. Doña Ana County receives a better Moderately Safe designation. While Harding County is our state's least populous county, it is also rated our most dangerous by the Center with slightly more than 72 annual traffic fatalities per 10,000 residents.

The good news is that in the 20-year study period, fatalities declined in New Mexico. From 2014 to 2015, we saw a 22 percent drop in deadly road accidents in our state.

For families that suffer the loss of a loved one, life will never be the same. No legal action can restore your family, but wrongful death litigation can help bring closure by holding others accountable, as well as by providing compensation for financial damages that can include lost income and benefits.

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