Governor Announces 36-Year Low in DWI Highway FatalitiesBY JUANI HOPWOOD Gov. Susana Martinez announced that 2015 marked a 36-year low in DWI deaths on roads in New Mexico today. Last year’s 122 DWI deaths marked a 28 percent decrease from 2014 and an unprecedented 70 percent decrease since 1979. “These statistics are encouraging because they show we’ve made a lot of progress over the years,” said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas. “But our work isn’t done until we completely eliminate DWI in New Mexico.” “It’s so simple,” Kassetas added. “If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel of a car.” The governor’s office highlighted the ways in which the governor actively fought against drunk driving in 2015 by enacting a series of executive initiatives:
- saturation patrols on New Mexico’s most dangerous highways
- cracking down on repeat offenders and establishments that over-serve
- a court monitoring program in five counties that will place citizens inside courtrooms to witness how DWI cases are handled
- an ongoing roundup of DWI fugitives“We still have a lot of work to do. Every one of those 122 deaths was a terrible tragedy for mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, families and friends all across our state. One death due to DWI is one too many,” Gov. Martinez said. In addition to premiering widespread television ads highlighting the terrible consequences of drunk driving last year, Gov. Martinez also recently signed Senate Bill 118. The bill targets the worst repeat offenders and increases penalties for drunk drivers who cause fatalities – in fact, under Senate Bill 118, the penalty for killing someone while driving drunk will be some of the highest in our region. (View the ENDWI ads below.) “I’m encouraged by this progress. A 36-year low in DWI deaths is a big deal. But our greatest challenge remains: ending drunk driving for good and getting that number to zero,” the governor said. Juani Hopwood is online editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DWI Deaths At Record Low is courtesy of ABQ Free Press