New Mexico Pedestrian Fatalities
Over the past 40 years, the number of traffic fatalities occurring across the country has significantly declined, including in New Mexico. But even though fewer vehicle occupants are fatally injured, the number of pedestrians who died in motor vehicle accidents is still far too high. In fact, 15 percent of all accident deaths are pedestrians.
From 2006 to 2015 (the latest year for complete statistics), New Mexico experienced a significant decrease in traffic fatalities, with accident deaths falling from 484 to 298. We also had a reduction in unrestrained occupant deaths, unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities, drunk-driving deaths, speed-related fatalities, and bicyclist deaths. Pedestrian fatalities fell from a 10-year high of 75 deaths in 2014 to 54 deaths in 2015.
Typically, the majority of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) writes that certain safety measures can reduce pedestrian deaths including –
- traffic barriers
- refuge islands
Other measures that can be implemented to increase the safety of people who walk, jog, and even stand by roadways include –
- better lighting and illumination
- improved intersection signal timing
- pedestrian crosswalk beacons
- reduced speeds in pedestrian areas
Common pedestrian injuries include leg, pelvis, and head injuries from impact with the bumper, hood, and windshield of a vehicle. The IIHS says that the severity of these injuries could be reduced by better vehicle designs. Crash avoidance systems that engage the brakes when an impact is imminent, and backup cameras that give drivers a clear view of what’s behind them can reduce fatal accidents. However, their efficacy has yet to be determined.
Drivers too have a duty to all road users to be as safe and prudent as possible when traveling. This includes not driving after drinking or taking drugs and remaining vigilant against distractions. Driver’s must not always be aware of the road in front of them, but also what’s going on around the vehicle.