467 ROAD DEATHS LAST YEAR: On average, more than one person died on N.M. roads every single day last year.
And while the total, 467 deaths, is slightly down from 2021 when 481 people died, it is way up over 2020 when the total number of traffic fatalities was 398.
Of note last year in the data provided by the N.M. Department of Transportation and University of New Mexico:
• The deaths broke down to 142 in cars, 93 on foot, 82 in vans/SUVs, 64 in pickups, 55 on motorcycles, 19 in semis or buses, four on bicycles and two on ATVs. The rest are classified as “vehicle other/unknown.”
• Alcohol was a factor in 106 of the deaths (23%), including eight motorcyclist and 20 pedestrian fatalities. (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 pretty evenly split between rural, 242, and urban, 225.
• Bernalillo County had the most deaths with 111. De Baca, Harding and Los Alamos counties had none.
• July was the deadliest month with 51 deaths. January had the fewest, 30.
• Fifty-seven of the deaths were minors under the age of 21. Sixty-seven were age 65 or older.
• 188 of those killed in vehicles were not wearing seat belts – just over 40%. District 2, Roswell, had the most unbelted fatalities, 51.7%
• Thirty-four of the motorcyclists were not wearing helmets.
TIRED OF PASEO’S LOOK, PACE, ETC.: Joe shares via email a desire for “any thoughts on helping us with the Paseo (del Norte) corridor, the earth berms, landscaping, speeding, the awful Second/Paseo/El Pueblo intersection? Sigh.”
Turns out local and state officials are discussing the ugly and loud parts.
Kimberly Gallegos of the NMDOT District 3 office, which covers metro Albuquerque, explains “landscaping is the responsibility of the local agency jurisdiction. The district and Village of Los Ranchos have been meeting about ideas to address aesthetics and noise concerns in the corridor.” In addition, “there is an ask at the (current legislative) session for funds to commission a sound study for the area.”
As for speeding, it will take a local request and crash analysis to go beyond traditional enforcement and get speed cameras installed. “Speed-camera requests also need to come from the local area law enforcement,” Gallegos says, “and should be placed on corridors that have high crash concerns.”
CAN 528/ROCKAWAY GET A FLASHING YELLOW? Maria P. emails that “in Rio Rancho (northbound N.M.) 528 at Rockaway Boulevard’s left-turn arrow does not have a flashing-yellow arrow. Why? The sign says ‘left turn on green arrow only.’ Seems kind of silly to wait for a green arrow at 11 p.m. when there’s not another car in sight.”
Gallegos says “this intersection will remain with a protective left, meaning it will have the green arrow and not have a yellow flashing light. This was determined due to the new project and as a safety measure.”
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; email@example.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.