In late 2004, NHTSA provided funds to the New Mexico Department of Transportation to demonstrate a process for implementing a comprehensive State impaired-driving system. NHTSA also contracted with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation to measure the effect of that system on various factors including driving-while-impaired (DWI) crash, injury, and fatality rates; DWI arrest rates; DWI conviction rates; blood alcohol concentration (BAC) patterns; and public awareness. New Mexico’s core activities include high-visibility impaired-driving law enforcement operations, increased paid and earned media concerning New Mexico’s law enforcement efforts, and prosecutorial and enforcement training in the six counties with the highest rates of alcohol-related fatalities.
Other components of the comprehensive system include the creation of a DWI Leadership Team that provides support and direction to the system and the participation of a traffic safety resource prosecutor to assist on DWI prosecution and other traffic safety law training. The five counties initially participating in the project were Bernalillo, Doña Ana, McKinley, Rio Arriba, and San Juan. Santa Fe County joined that group in 2007. NHTSA’s objective was to transfer this model to other States experiencing a high number or rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities or both. Overall, New Mexico’s multi-faceted efforts appeared to have benefits for the State.