More people are dying on New Mexico highways this year, with state statistics showing a 25 percent jump in traffic deaths during the first nine months of 2012.
Deaths from alcohol-related crashes are also up by 20 percent this year. Alcohol played a role in about 40 percent of the state's 296 traffic deaths.
Figures compiled by the New Mexico Department of Transportation show pedestrian deaths and crashes that killed people above age 70 led the increase in fatalities.
DOT planning director Michael Sandoval tells the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/SPswza ) that the department is watching the numbers closely. But there isn't one single explanation for the rise in traffic deaths.
Early National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures showed a 13 percent rise in U.S. traffic deaths from January through March.