SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Transportation and local law enforcement are reminding commuters to buckle up in the State2State Buckle up campaign. Participating states include New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming.
NMDOT reports that the campaign also aligns with the start of the national Click it or Ticket seat belt enforcement period which starts on May 24. According to a press release from the department, participating states will utilize social media and digital highway signs to alert travelers.
NMDOT states that there were 9,466 unbuckled people who were killed in crashes in the United States in 2019. In New Mexico, there were 141 traffic fatalities that involved an unbuckled driver or passenger.
According to New Mexico data from 2016 to 2019, drivers with out-of-state licenses were involved with 37.5% of all fatalities on interstates. Of those fatalities, 42% were not restrained.
In fatal crashes that involved out-of-state drivers, California, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado had the most drivers in fatal crashes on interstates. NMDOT and law enforcement agencies statewide are asking all drivers to buckle up.
“As the summer travel season gets rolling, we are going to see more travelers from neighboring states in New Mexico,” said Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval. “We want those travelers to be safe and buckle up, so they don’t miss anything our beautiful state has to offer. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do do prevent injury or death in a crash. Sadly, we see the results of not wearing seat belts all the time. We see the loss of life and often, these tragedies could have been prevented.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by 50%. NMDOT reports that New Mexico’s current seat belt use rate is 91.8% which is above the national average of 90%.