2021 NM Walking Deaths Smash Into New Record Territory

It isn’t the public health crisis on everybody’s mind, but the epidemic that is pedestrian roadway fatalities spiked, again, to unprecedented levels last year in New Mexico, particularly in the second half of 2021.

Even exceeding the national trend higher, 2021 New Mexico’ 99 walking deaths were almost 20% higher than the previous annual record (84) in records kept since 1996 at the NMDOT/UNM Traffic Research Unit.

Most astonishing was the rate in the second half of last year:

After a relatively mild end of lockdown period Covid pandemic, in terms of pedestrian deaths, reopening saw a true explosion in fatality rate, with 62 killed from July to December 2021. The overall 2021 roadway death figure of 470 is the highest since 2006, yet walkers still accounted for a remarkable 21% of that total.

There are many reasons, and there is much work to do toward reversing what was a trend and is now “viral.” Use of new federal infrastructure funding toward this problem, instead of just fixing roads using the same engineering that’s getting walkers killed, would be a start, but only a start.

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