New Mexico teens may know rules of the road better than adults

News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Lots of people complain there are too many bad drivers on the road, and teens get the worst rap for it. But as KRQE News 13 discovered on Special Assignment, teens may know the rules of the road better than most adults.

Whether it’s blowing through red lights, ignoring road signs, or simply not knowing what to do, bad drivers are everywhere. And it may make you wonder, how well do New Mexicans actually know the rules of the road?

“It’s like anything you do, you become complacent, all of a sudden the standards start going down and down,” said Jose Hurtado, Senior Instructor at Duke City Driver’s Education School near Wyoming and Paseo.

His job is to teach the state’s newest and youngest drivers the ins-and-outs of driving before they’re handed a state issued drivers license.

It’s a big responsibility.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, new teen drivers ages 16-17 are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.

“It’s like I tell my kids ‘A good day of driving: no accidents, no tickets.'” It’s a goal that starts in driver’s education, and teens are paying attention.

KRQE News 13 found out from the state those who do pass the written driving test on the first attempt, broken down by age.

Over the last two years, 15 year olds had a 78.5 percent passing rate in New Mexico, a number that decreases as drivers get older. People ages 20 to 30 passed the Motor Vehicle Division’s written test just 60 percent of the time.

“When teens are first getting into driver’s education they’re excited, they want their driver’s license, they’re engaged in the process,” said Michael Sandoval, Director of the Modal Division for New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Test Your Knowledge:Take a practice test for the New Mexico Driving Exam »Take the Driver Safety Quiz »

The state’s DOT believes New Mexico’s three-stage process for new drivers, the Graduated Driver Licensing program, or GDL, produces more skilled drivers.

Minors must complete driver’s education, pass a written test, do 50 hours of supervised driving, plus 10 hours at night, and then, pass the road test. That gets teens a provisional license for a year before they can get a full-fledged driver’s license.

“I feel like I’m learning a lot of information really quick, it’s pretty fun,” said 16-year-old driver’s education student, Olivia Stewart. She can’t wait to get behind the wheel. “Now that I’m getting more involved with school, I feel like it’s a lot more important that I can get myself places,” Stewart added.

Like her peers, she’s got a long road ahead.

Hurtado said some teens come to class with misconceptions about the rules. In at least one case, he said a student thought driving 10 mph above the posted speed limit was a legal grace period.

Hurtado adds adults should be setting a better example on the road for younger generations. Even though stats show they know the rules, car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Knowing the rules is different than following them.

“Young people sometimes are a little more risky, they engage in more risky behavior,” explained Ben Cloutier, Communications Director for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department.

When asked if she’ll feel confident behind the wheel, 16-year-old Stewart responded, “Definitely after practice, I’m gonna know exactly what to do.”

Hurtado hopes what he teaches in class will stick with students for the long haul. At the end of the day, he said he wants his students to be safe drivers and come home alive each day they’re on the road.

In the first nine months of 2017, there were 272 fatal crashes in New Mexico.

Related

NCL Exam Results by Age Between 5/25/2015 and 9/30/2017

AGEPASSEDFAILED% PASSED
TOTAL 67,770 34,73666.10%
15 3,510 96378.50%
16 9,959 3,32875.00%
17 12,107 4,27073.90%
18 7,497 3,39168.90%
19 5,108 3,17161.70%
20 3,999 2,77259.10%
21 2,765 1,93958.80%
22 1,925 1,26560.30%
23 1,640 1,02961.40%
24 1,351 87660.70%
25 1,250 81560.50%
26 1,121 74860.00%
27 1,087 74659.30%
28 941 60660.80%
29 789 51960.30%
30 739 50359.50%
31 693 45260.50%
32 690 35965.80%
33 688 37264.90%
34 581 34562.70%
35 558 36860.30%
36 567 29465.90%
37 543 29964.50%
38 494 30362.00%
39 478 28962.30%
40 460 30060.50%
41 404 23763.00%
42 374 24160.80%
43 351 24359.10%
44 367 21363.30%
45 309 21159.40%
46 305 20360.00%
47 352 18365.80%
48 275 17361.40%
49 289 18561.00%
50 292 15465.50%
51 259 19557.00%
52 265 22154.50%
53 249 18357.60%
54 224 19154.00%
55 221 14859.90%
56 189 15554.90%
57 206 14259.20%
58 177 13656.50%
59 134 10655.80%
60 134 14348.40%
61 129 10156.10%
62 106 7259.60%
63 93 9250.30%
64 84 5361.30%
65 70 6352.60%
66 61 5154.50%
67 52 4752.50%
68 42 4946.20%
69 44 5046.80%
70 42 3653.80%
71 29 2850.90%
72 17 1553.10%
73 21 2051.20%
74 13 1940.60%
75 9 1145.00%
76 12 1152.20%
77 10 952.60%
78 8 1044.40%
79 5 741.70%
80 7 750.00%

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Now Trending on KRQE.com

Weather

More Video Forecast

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss