In records going back to 1995, New Mexico had not experienced two consecutive months of double-digit pedestrian fatalities in the state.
The records also show that months with the deaths of 10 or more walking our state’s roadways has historically been very rare, but increasingly common.
|Year||Fatalities||Months 10 or more|
|2018 (through Oct.)||71||2|
Similar trends around the United States/world have led to speculation of causes, including growth in vehicle miles traveled as a result of an improved economy and cheap gas, distracted driving/walking, and the explosion in numbers of SUVs on our roads.
Whatever the cause/causes (and it, i.e., everything, is almost always a mix of causes), roadway engineering tends to escape blame, as it is perceived that the largely same NM road designs that have killed 71 in ten months of 2018 only killed 34 back in all of 2010.
Still, a graph of deaths since 1995 shows, along with interesting outliers in 2001 and 2006, and a record high in 1995 (88) that makes one wish we had data going back previously, that the trend since 2010s low of 34 is up to and well beyond the overall average of ~58 deaths per year.
Something is happening, something deadly and with multiple causes, and while other areas of the country are undertaking significant efforts to address what is truly a public health crisis, Albuquerque and New Mexico have yet to institute direct actions such as institution of “Vision Zero” policies.
For now, we just seem to be waiting to see if the 2018 figure, currently 71 in only 10 months, surpassing the record of 1995. Public policy regarding deaths of those walking our roadways should not be a grisly spectator sport.