467 ROAD DEATHS LAST YEAR:
On average, more than one person died on NM roads every day for the past year.
And while the total of 467 fatalities is down slightly from 2021, when 481 people died, it’s up significantly from 2020, when the total number of road fatalities was 398.
Notable last year in data provided by the NM Department of Transportation and the University of New Mexico:
• Fatalities were broken down as 142 in cars, 93 on foot, 82 in vans/SUVs, 64 in pickup trucks, 55 on motorcycles, 19 in articulated lorries or buses, four on bicycles and two on ATVs. The rest is classified as “vehicle other/unknown”.
• Alcohol was a role in 106 of the deaths (23%), including eight motorcyclists and 20 pedestrians. (It was a factor in 177 deaths in 2021 and 145 in 2020.) NMDOT District 5 (Santa Fe) and District 6 (Grants/Milan) had the highest percentages of fatal DWIs.
• Deaths were fairly evenly split between rural (242) and urban (225).
• Bernalillo County had the highest number of deaths at 111. De Baca, Harding, and Los Alamos counties had none.
• July was the deadliest month with 51 deaths. January had the fewest, 30.
• 57 of the deaths were minors under 21 years of age. 67 were aged 65 or older.
• 188 people killed in vehicles were not wearing seat belts – just over 40%. District 2, Roswell, had the most deaths without seat belts, 51.7%
• 34 of the motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet.
TIRED OF PASEOS LOOK, PACE, ETC.: Joe shares via email wishing, “Any thoughts on us at the Paseo (del Norte) corridor, the dirt banks, the landscaping, the speeding, the awful Second/Paseo intersection /to help El Pueblo? Sigh.”
It turns out local and state officials are debating the ugly and noisy parts.
Kimberly Gallegos of the NMDOT office for District 3, which covers Greater Albuquerque, explains: “Landscaping is the responsibility of local authorities. The District and Village of Los Ranchos have met over ideas to address corridor aesthetics and noise issues.” Additionally, “There is a request at the (current Legislative) session for funds to commission an in-depth study of the area give.”
As for speeding, it takes local inquiry and accident analysis to go beyond traditional enforcement and have speed cameras installed. “Requests for speed cameras must also come from local law enforcement agencies,” says Gallegos, “and should be placed in corridors where there is a high risk of accidents.”
CAN 528/ROCKAWAY FLASH YELLOW? Maria P. writes via email that “at Rio Rancho (Northbound NM) 528 at the left turn arrow on Rockaway Boulevard does not have a flashing yellow arrow. Why? The sign says “Left turns only on green arrow”. It seems kind of silly to wait for a green arrow at 11pm when there is no other car in sight.”
Gallegos says: “This crossing will remain with a protective left side, meaning it will have the green arrow and no yellow flashing light. This was determined due to the new project and as a safety measure.”
Editorial site editor D’Val Westphal addresses commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; [email protected]; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.