One hopes after months/years of checking the latest figures on New Mexico traffic fatalities, specifically pedestrian deaths, that this month will be different. With data point after data point making it more and more unmistakable that a major public health crisis is at hand, you hope to see a month where maybe only 1 or 2 folks walking our roadways were killed.
Or, remarkably, that we might have a month with zero such deaths.
Those hopes will again have to wait, as May 2018 numbers from the Traffic Research Unit show the pedestrian fatalities still very much at a record pace. Specifically, 7 deaths in May; 37 so far in 2018.
In last year’s seemingly soon-to-be-previous record of 80 (revised upward from 79 in earlier reports), “only” 23 pedestrian fatalities happened through May. Note how the numbers shoot up as 2017 rolls on:
Which is another way of saying that a staggering 94 NM pedestrians have been killed in the past 12 months. While calculating types of roadway usage is difficult, there are definitely far more folks in cars/trucks/SUVs than those walking, yet the percentage of pedestrian deaths to the overall rate continues to push 30%. That’s double the New Mexico average only a few years back.
Yes, we’re looking relatively “good” with only 131 traffic deaths so far in 2018. A widely noted study recently released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety theorized that America’s increasing love affair with the SUV, and higher performance vehicles in general, plays a role in the nationwide rising trend of pedestrian deaths. That there is greater and greater separation between the safety, perceived and otherwise, of those in high-speed big metal boxes and those trying to stay alive walking amid those boxes is very apparent.
Meanwhile, we’ll hope, again, that next month’s numbers finally show a slowing of pedestrian deaths in New Mexico.
We can only hope, apparently, because we’re just not doing much about it.