The Most Dangerous Place for Young People Isn’t School. It’s Our Roads.

We’ve spent and will increase spending millions and millions of dollars to keep our schools safer, at least until students leave school and travel our far more dangerous streets.

bike ped 2010-2014
Table from MRCOG 2010-2014 Bicycle/Pedestrian Crash Report

As horrific as school shootings most certainly are, the numbers of students involved in carnage at school is nothing compared to the statistics of young people injured and killed on our roadways.

As you know, yesterday a 12-year-old child was struck and grievously injured while walking the crosswalk on Louisiana Boulevard outside Cleveland Middle School. As reported in the Journal:

Officer Daren DeAguero said the girl was taken to a hospital with severe injuries and is “not expected to survive.”

He said the crash occurred around 5 p.m. in front of the school at Louisiana and Natalie NE.

DeAguero said the girl was crossing Louisiana when a vehicle in the left lane stopped to allow her to cross and, as she entered the right lane, she was struck by a 2015 GMC SUV.

“She was in the crosswalk used by Cleveland Middle School, which is marked with a sign but no traffic control lights,” he said. “This crash occurred after school hours, so the flashing signals indicating a school zone were not engaged.”

Update: The 12-year-old girl has died. Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson Simon Drobik is reported as saying “Elderly driver not charged this was a tragic accident.”

Then there’s the story of 15-year-old Efrin Alzate, Jr. who at last report is on life-support after being shot in a road rage incident near Coors Boulevard in the far South Valley.  A Bernalillo County Sherriff’s spokesperson told reporters Arzate Jr. was riding in the back seat when he was shot near the intersection of Gun Club and Kirk SW.

While both these incidents of young people injured and killed on our roads, and countless others to follow, will be news, the circumstances and numbers involved in each specific instance just won’t have the same effect on our national psyche. Street safety and gun control will very likely not be meaningfully addressed in the wake of the incidents noted above. Or by those countless others absolutely sure to follow.

Unless.

Unless we as a citizenry can stop treating roadway injuries and deaths as inevitable “costs of doing business,” and start addressing the roadway engineering, driver education/regulation, and public policy needed to significantly reduce roadway violence on our very, very violent streets.

Until then, the horrors noted above will just continue to happen, one by one, sometimes in twos or threes, over and over and over, year after year after year.

 

One thought on “The Most Dangerous Place for Young People Isn’t School. It’s Our Roads.

  1. Yep. Its death by design. We design roads to optimize vehicle level of service. Pedestrians and other vulnerable user deaths are the cost of doing business. There is no point to more driver education when the engineering is at cross purposes with the safety training.

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