State still ranks highly for having the worst drivers

LAS CRUCES – It’s a dubious honor for New Mexico to be ranked near the top of this independent U.S. survey.

For the second consecutive year, New Mexicans made the Top 10 list of worst drivers in America, according to an annual study conducted by, a website that allows people to compare insurance companies and the rates they charge. This year, New Mexico’s drivers are rated the sixth-worst in the nation. A small consolation is the state was ranked second a year ago.

“Not much of a surprise,” said Las Crucen Clifford Morales, staring at passing vehicles as he filled his Dodge pickup with gas Wednesday. “It’s crazy out there (on the roads), and it keeps getting crazier. People either don’t know how to drive or they’ve got no regard of safety for themselves or others.”

Motorists in Texas and Louisiana are tied as the worst drivers, according to the study. South Carolina, North Dakota and Delaware are ranked ahead of New Mexico, and Nevada, Alabama, Arizona, and Montana follow New Mexico.

The study ranked states in five categories: fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled; failure to obey traffic signals, use seat belts or driving with an invalid license; drunken driving; speeding; and careless driving. Of those five categories, New Mexico drivers were considered the worst in the U.S. for careless driving, sixth for fatality rate, 11th for drunken driving; 17th for speeding, and 36th for failure to obey.

Last year, New Mexico ranked fifth in careless driving and as the 10th-worst state for drunk drivers.

Las Crucen Gretchen Torres said cellphone use was the biggest contributor to careless driving in the state. While Torres expressed her concerns Wednesday, drivers of two vehicles passing behind her were on their cell phones.

“Something has got to be done,” Torres said. “Nobody is paying attention to the law, but a lot of people are sure in a sue-happy mood if they get crunched in a crash. People just don’t seem to care.”

New Mexico’s Distracted Driving Law, which prohibits text messaging while driving, went into effect on July 1, 2014. Fines are $25 for a first offense, then $50. Ordinances banning text messaging while driving are also in effect in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Silver City, Gallup, Taos and Española.?

However, state law does not prohibit cell phone calls while driving, especially if the driver is using a hands-free device.

“They should just outlaw anybody from using a cell phone if they’re driving,” said Las Crucen Julie Ochoa.

However, numerous concerns about doing that have been raised by some residents who have told elected leaders prohibiting cell phone use could also prevent them from conducting business.

“I agree there are a lot of careless drivers, I don’t know that an all-out ban on cell phones is the answer,” said Las Crucen Gina Taylor, who owns a small business. “Some people need and use that phone for their livelihood; it’s important to them.”

Las Cruces police are aware of the latest study.

“Obviously, one fatality is one too many,” said Dan Trujillo, LCPD spokesman. “The Las Cruces Police Department encourages the public to drive safely and with responsibility.”

Trujillo added Las Cruces police will continue to emphasize and enforce laws that require drivers to devote full-time attention while operating a vehicle.

“People need to understand they need to pay 100-percent attention,” Trujillo said. “That means driving safely.”

Steve Ramirez can be reached at 575-541-5452,, or @SteveRamirez6 on Twitter.


New Mexico drivers are rated the sixth worst, according to a study conducted by The study assesses rankings in five categories with the ranking becoming a total score that is compared with other states;

New Mexico’s ranking include:

Careless driving: 1

Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 6

DrunkEN driving: 11

Speeding: 17

Failure to obey traffic signals, seat belt use, and invalid drivers’ license: 36



©2016 the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.)

Visit the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


Could stadium money go to police instead?
ABQnews Seeker
Bond allocation could move to the ... Bond allocation could move to the city's general fund
UPDATE: APD says missing 4-year old found safe
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say they are no ... Albuquerque police say they are no longer looking for Catiana Zepeda, the 4-year-old whose mother was found dead on Friday in an apartment in ...
Bernalillo County won't require worker shots
ABQnews Seeker
Concerns public safety workers resistent to ... Concerns public safety workers resistent to COVID vaccine might retire early
New map may see Rio Rancho, West Side add ...
ABQnews Seeker
Sandoval County's population jumped 13.1% in ... Sandoval County's population jumped 13.1% in 2020 census
In NM, helping to prevent suicide remains a task ...
Ours is still a state that ... Ours is still a state that is sorely lacking in mental health care providers
Vaccination rate in NM inches close to 70%
ABQnews Seeker
State reports 13 deaths, 762 new ... State reports 13 deaths, 762 new cases
At Kirtland AFB, a scramble to enact vaccine policy
ABQnews Seeker
Details still being worked out Details still being worked out
Man charged in 10 West Side armed robberies
ABQnews Seeker
The 21-year-old, who admits he takes ... The 21-year-old, who admits he takes drugs, has been arrested multiple times since 2019
US panel backs COVID-19 boosters only for seniors, high-risk
Dealing the White House a stinging ... Dealing the White House a stinging setback, a government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the ...
Man accused of sexually assaulting girls during sleepover
ABQnews Seeker
One girl told deputies that the ... One girl told deputies that the abuse made her feel 'sad and scared'