In the past month, we New Mexicans have endured the largest number of January state traffic fatalities in the past quarter-century, according to current and historic reports from the Traffic Research Unit at UNM.
38 people died on our roadways last month, including nine pedestrians and four “pedalcyclists.”
Here’s how those 38 deaths compare with January fatalities since 1995:
Yes, 2020 only eclipses “2nd Place” 1998 by one fatality, and there are several years in the past 25 with 30 or more deaths. Still, this past month was a record, one we don’t want and one that reflects the fast-growing amount of work that must be done to make “Vision Zero” anything more than a cruel ironic joke.
Those 13 walking/rolling deaths last month also point to how astronomically far our roadways are from being “Complete Streets.” Without funding, enforcement, and roadway engineering (both new and especially retrofitted construction), the statistical rocket ship on the right side of the graph above will just keep going up, it appears, further into record territory.
And yes, January is only one month. We’ll be checking these gruesome statistics monthly, as we always do here. Just as importantly, we’ll be checking even more often to see if changes in funding, enforcement, and roadway engineering arrive to a sufficient degree to make “Vision Zero,” and “Complete Streets” anything more than governmental platitudes.