The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in New Mexico has been consistently high in recent years. In fact, when you consider the number of pedestrian deaths per capita, New Mexico ranks third in the nation for fatal pedestrian accidents.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year since 2011, between 50 and 75 pedestrians have lost their lives in New Mexico.
What is causing so many pedestrian fatalities?
The factors are numerous, but alcohol is a major contributor. Impairment on the part of drivers and pedestrians results in serious accidents.
In terms of driver negligence, other factors include:
- Distracted driving, particularly texting while driving
- Failure to yield or stop at a crosswalk
- Failure to look before turning
- Drifting onto the shoulder or median of the road
- Passing a stopped school bus when children are present
- Speeding and reckless driving
In terms of pedestrian actions that lead to collisions, jaywalking is a common factor, as is crossing away from intersections.
It should be noted, too, that many pedestrian accidents happen at night, so it is important to wear reflective clothing and avoid walking along poorly lit roadways.
Even if a pedestrian is walking outside a safety area, drivers have an obligation to take reasonable action to avoid a collision.
Sometimes both parties to an accident are negligent to some degree. For example, maybe a pedestrian gets hit while jaywalking, but the driver was also texting at the time.
New Mexico is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the negligence of the two parties can be compared to determine how much compensation an injury victim should receive. In such a situation, the plaintiff's compensation is reduced to the degree that the plaintiff was at fault.
For more on these matters, please see our New Mexico pedestrian accident overview.