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Health Indicator Report of Alcohol - Alcohol-related Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash (MVTC) Death

Alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crash (AR-MVTC) death has historically been the leading cause of alcohol-related injury death. Nonetheless, AR-MVTC deaths provide a hopeful example of a substance-related health outcome that has been successfully reduced by using a public health approach, both nationally and in New Mexico. From 1982 through 2010, in response to a wide range of policy and preventive interventions, New Mexico's alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crash (AI-MVTC) fatality rate declined more dramatically than the US rate, decreasing 83% and dropping New Mexico from first to tenth among states in AI-MVTC fatalities per 100,000 population. In terms of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), New Mexico's AI-MVTC fatality rate in 2015 (0.38) was one-sixth what it was in 1982 (2.4). Furthermore, a comprehensive AR-MVTC prevention campaign in place from 2005-2009 was successful in reinitiating rate decreases that had been stalled since the late 1990s. From 2004 to 2012 New Mexico's AI-MVTC fatality rate per 100 million VMT dropped 42%. Rates increased slightly in 2014 and dropped back in 2015. (2016 data not available at the NHTSA website yet.)


Rates are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.   Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,
  • U.S. Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, ]]

Data Interpretation Issues

According to the CDC's Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) website (, there are 54 causes of death considered to be at least partially attributable to alcohol. These include 35 alcohol-related chronic diseases (e.g., liver cirrhosis, alcohol dependence); and 19 alcohol-related injuries (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, poisonings, falls, homicide, suicide). Alcohol-related deaths are estimated by multiplying the total number of deaths in a cause-of-death category by the percent of deaths in that category that are considered to be caused by alcohol. This percent, the so-called alcohol attributable fraction (AAF), can vary from 100% for causes of death that are completely related to alcohol use (e.g., alcoholic liver disease, alcohol poisoning); to less than 100% for causes that are only sometimes related to alcohol use. For example, per CDC ARDI, the AAF for portal hypertension is 40%. This means that 40% of deaths from portal hypertension are considered to be caused by alcohol use. The AAF for homicide is 47% and for suicide is 23%. The AAF for alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes is age- and gender-specific, ranging from 49% for males ages 25-34 to 8% for females ages 65 and over. For more information on the AAFs used here see the CDC ARDI Methods webpage (


Alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crash deaths estimated based on CDC ARDI alcohol-attributable fractions (BAC>=0.10)


Number of alcohol-related MVTC deaths in New Mexico


New Mexico Population

Healthy People Objective: SA-17, Decrease the rate of alcohol-impaired driving (.08+ blood alcohol content [BAC]) fatalities

U.S. Target: 0.38 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled

Other Objectives

Substance Abuse Epidemiology Report Indicator

Available Services

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals should screen all adult patients and counsel those who drink too much to drink less. This is called alcohol screening and brief intervention (A-SBI). A-SBI can reduce how much alcohol a person drinks on an occasion by 25%. A-SBI is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Community Guide), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). For more information on A-SBI, please the CDC vital signs website:
Page Content Updated On 11/20/2018, Published on 03/19/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Wed, 01 December 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 19 Mar 2019 09:25:40 MDT