Trends in motor vehicle traffic fatalities among Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites and American Indians in New Mexico, 1958-1990

Melissa Schiff, Thomas Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective. New Mexico has had the highest motor vehicle fatality rate in the nation for many years. Our objective was to examine ethnic differences and trends in motor vehicle fatality rates. Design. Using death certificate data from the New Mexico Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, we compiled age-adjusted motor vehicle-related mortality rates from 1958-1990 among the three major ethnic groups in New Mexico - Hispanics, white non-Hispanics and American Indians. Results. Over the 33-year study period, American Indians of both sexes had two to three times higher mortality rates than white non-Hispanics. Hispanic males also had higher motor vehicle death rates than white non-Hispanic males. During the 1970s fatality rates peaked, with age-adjusted death rates of 233/100 000 for American Indian males, 74.7 for Hispanic males and 49.3 for white non-Hispanics for the period 1973-1977. Evaluation of successive 5-year birth cohorts showed highest mortality rates for ages 15-29 years for each ethnic group and both sexes, and a dramatic decline in most ethnic, sex and age-specific rates during the last eight years of the study period. Conclusion. Although the recent trends indicate favorable changes in motor vehicle fatality rates, our data highlight the need for ethnic and age-specific interventions to further reduce rates of motor vehicle-related mortality in this state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidents
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Indian
  • Mortality
  • Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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