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Welcome to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic speedway, folks

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — IN 5 IN N.M. BROKE MORE RULES OF ROAD: That’s according to a survey of 2,000 drivers by Gunther Volkswagen, a Florida car dealer.

The survey said 17% of New Mexicans “admit to having broken more road rules than usual during lockdown! This is more than the national average of 13%. Sharing a road with drivers who break rules, even if they are minor, is incredibly concerning for the safety and well-being of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike.”

Joe Gunther says in a news release, “If you see an empty road ahead of you while driving home from the store, it can be tempting to ignore stop signs and traffic lights. But accidents are aptly named because you cannot predict them. While you may think there is no one else on the road, vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians can come out of nowhere. If you or they are ignoring rules of the road, it could be a terrible incident waiting to happen.”

Alabama had the fewest scofflaws with just 4% saying they have broken more traffic laws during the lockdown. Rhode Island was top with 50% admitting they were ignoring the rules of the road more.

SPEED KILLS: Meanwhile, a new report by CoPilot looked at data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and ranked counties according to traffic deaths that involved speeding.

Bernalillo County hit 37%; Sandoval County ranks worst in the state, at 46.7%. New Mexico ranked 10th in the nation for speeding deaths (New Hampshire was the worst, Florida the best), with 6.5 for every 100K, 681 speeding deaths in the past five years, and 1,860 total traffic deaths in the past five years. The full study, complete with state and county data, is available here.

LIGHT AT COORS AND ST. JOSEPH ADJUSTED: Tom Knox emails that “turning left off Coors has a flashing yellow arrow (that) seems to be not working properly. Driving south on Coors to turn left to St. Joseph seems to get stuck on a red arrow sometimes, (though) northbound works fine.

Johnny Chandler, who handles information for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, says DMD’s “Traffic Engineering Division checked this signal after your reader’s inquiry and found a detection issue with the side street signal. We have fixed that issue, and the signal should be operating property again. Our community members can help us with anything traffic signal related by calling 311 or using the OneABQ app. This information is sent to us right away and we address them as soon as possible.”

WHAT’S UP AT N.M. 14 AND FROST? Marita asked that in an email: “The new intersection at North Highway 14 and Frost (is) a dangerous intersection and I’m wondering if they are going to put a roundabout at that intersection, or what their plans are?”

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, says, “There is not a roundabout included in the current Albuquerque Asphalt project on N.M. 14 known as Phase III. This intersection is a project for the future. We have a link at dot.state.nm.us/content/nmdot/en/ProjectsD3.html#nm14studyrehab for information on the study and the different alternatives.”

And the site includes a comment form to share concerns and suggestions.

THEORY ON WHY WE HAVE VANDALS: Back in May, I wrote a column about the state having to hire security because people were stealing toilet paper and soap from rest stops.

Marsha Thole says, “It is terrible that our tax dollars go to pay for the truly awful behavior of slugs in this state. However, the state is also at fault. If the fines were much higher, rather than what they are now – they don’t even cover 10 min. of the officer’s time if they are caught – that might be a deterrent. Goes for speeding, too. The whining we hear from some legislators who claim their constituents just can’t afford to pay more in fines/tickets is the stupidest response anyone could make. Well, if they can’t pay, then they shouldn’t commit the offense. Duh!”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.

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