- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on efforts to combat reckless driving in New Mexico (all times local):

Noon

Traffic fatalities in New Mexico this year are on pace to far exceed the number of deaths recorded on the state’s roadways last year.

The latest data available from the state Department of Transportation shows 369 people have died in crashes from January through November. In 2015, fewer than 300 died on New Mexico roads, marking the lowest number in nearly a decade.

State transportation officials have not attributed the uptick to any particular cause but say they’re continuing with campaigns against distracted driving and drunken driving.

Alcohol-related crashes make up nearly 40 percent of the total, about the same as last year.

Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes says reckless driving has become a big problem in New Mexico and she’s planning to reintroduce legislation for stiffer punishments for those convicted in deadly cases.

___

11:27 a.m.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and others are ready to push state lawmakers again to consider toughening the penalties for those convicted in deadly reckless driving cases.

The Democratic-led Senate derailed the effort during the last legislative session to make such a crime a second-degree felony worthy of a 15-year prison sentence, the same punishment a drunken driver now faces if convicted of vehicular homicide.

Supporters of the measure are pointing to the case of Carmen Esmeralda Rivera, a 10-year-old girl who was killed last month when a man suspected of street racing slammed into her family’s SUV on Interstate 25.

Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes says it was an avoidable tragedy and that families deserve to feel safe traveling on New Mexico’s roads. The Albuquerque Republican plans to pre-file the legislation soon.

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