Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico has kept its dubious distinction as the deadliest state for pedestrians – for the sixth year in a row.

The Governors Highway Safety Association ranked New Mexico as having the highest rate per capita of pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2021. The state has been at the top of the GHSA list every year since 2016, when the fatality rate was 3.45 per 100,000.

In 2021, the rate was 4.77 as the state saw a 24% rise in the death toll from 2020. Florida was second on the list with a rate of 4.13.

Last year, New Mexico had a total of 103 pedestrians killed in crashes, the highest number ever recorded in the state. The Albuquerque-area also hit a record high of 49 fatal pedestrian crashes.

Pedestrian crashes have been rising for years nationwide and in 2021, according to the GHSA, saw an increase of 11.5% while recording 7,485 pedestrian fatalities – the largest number seen in four decades.

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins called the most recent number “heartbreaking and unacceptable,” in a news release.

“The pandemic has caused so much death and damage, it’s frustrating to see even more lives needlessly taken due to dangerous driving,” Adkins said. “We must address the root causes of the pedestrian safety crisis – speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors, inadequate infrastructure, and roads designed for vehicle speed instead of safety – to reverse this trend and ensure people can walk safely.”

The GHSA is still analyzing 2021 data but the report found that in 2020 pedestrian crashes made up 17% of all traffic deaths and the percentage of those involving speeding rose 8.6%.