I read the letters to the editor in the Feb. 17 edition of the Signpost, both of which described the issue of free-roaming horses being on roadways as a people problem. While I don't dispute the driving habits of some Placitans and many New Mexicans, I feel the need to point our that an overwhelming majority of vehicle-horse collisions on NM 165 do not involve speeding or alcohol.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is responsible for the safety of the traveling public on state roads. As stakeholders related to problem of horses on the roads the NMDOT has always been missing in action.
The Bernalillo Public Schools is responsible in part for the safety of the school children going to and from schools. A recent public records request for any documentation generated by BPS expressing concern for the safety of children and their families because of horses on the roads turned up no documents. The insurance companies that have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims for human injuries and totaled vehicles are also MIA.
The Sandoval County Sheriff's Office is often the first responders to vehicle-horse collisions. They manage the carnage, see to the collision victims and write incident reports. They see most of these crashes involving unmanaged horses, and most of these happen between mile markers 5 and 10 and on county roads north of 165. The Sheriff's Office has recommended an ordinance that addresses feeding horses on and near the roads. This should help to keep horses off the roads.
We do have a people problem and it involves the proper management of large mammals. It's time for the managers to manage.
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