ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico is getting a very bad rap in a new report that puts the state dead last in the nation for safe drivers but one driving instructor says the writer needs to pump the brakes.
The report by Wallethub.com, titled 2014’s Safest States to Live In, ranked New Mexico close to the bottom at 44 overall. The report stated that driving safety is one of the reasons why.
It’s no secret that there are some bad drivers in New Mexico. An entire YouTube channel, with more than 30 episodes, is dedicated to the worst behind the wheel in Albuquerque.
The video shows drivers running red lights, cutting corners too close nearly causing crashes and even drivers turning from the wrong lanes.
Al Guadagnoli, the owner of Coach Al’s Driving School, said he’s seen some bad drivers but was surprised to hear about the report.
“It’s sad. It’s sad, because I don’t believe we’re last,’ Guadagnoli said. “Probably around 40th.”
That guess was not even close. According to Wallethub.com, New Mexico is ranked dead last in the nation when it comes to driving safety.
Guadagnoli said he’s seen some horrible drivers out on the roads on a daily basis.
“One car will go through on the yellow. Then it turns red; another car, another car, sometimes three cars through a red light,” Guadagnoli said. “If we drive like fools, go everywhere we can on busting the speed limit, tail gating, not using my indicators, my signals, my turn blinkers the chances of me getting in a wreck, pretty steep.”
Deadly crashes, DWI violations and pedestrian fatalities are the three main categories Wallethub honed in on for ranking driving safety.
According to the state’s transportation department’s website from January through May there’s been 132 fatalities with 49 linked to drunk drivers.
The DWI Resource Center website shows more than 12,000 people have been cited for DWI but that number is actually down from last year.
Guadagnoli still thinks the ranking is too harsh and gives New Mexico drivers a reputation they don’t deserve.
“We’re not that bad,” Guadagnoli said.
However, he said the violation he sees most has to be speeding. State police said since January more than 60,000 drivers have been cited for speeding.
According to Wallethub driving wasn’t the only reason the state ranked so close to the bottom in the list of safe states. The report also took into account workplace safety and financial safety.