People are driving less locally and around the world these days, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the number of those killed trying to walk New Mexico roadways last month. Here’s a category breakdown of such fatalities from the Traffic Research Unit:
Having tracked these figures for quite some time, month of March and overall 2020 numbers stand out in many ways, including these two:
- March 2020 pedestrian fatalities account for fully 40% of all roadway deaths in the state. While such deaths have been rising for years, in only rare instances (January 2019 for example) has a month seen such a high incidence of walking deaths relative to overall traffic fatalities.
- With 28 deaths in the first quarter, New Mexico is on pace for 112 walking fatalities this year, which would again set an annual record. We’ve been doing that frequently in recent years.
While only a quarter of a year is a limited time sample and we’ll only fully understand how very different driving and life is during these pandemic times after enough time elapses to collect much more data, a look at 1st Quarter NM pedestrian fatalities over the past 15 years continues to show a disturbing trend, pandemic or no pandemic.
Generally speaking, overall vehicle miles traveled is frequently cited as the single most important correlative with traffic fatalities, pedestrian deaths included, i.e.:
More driving = more deaths
Right now, in these outlier times on so many levels, that correlation has at least temporarily been broken.