Misleading statements about Performance Goals and Results


NM Traffic Safety 2000 Annual Report to the Governor page 2Wrong goals cited

These are not the Department's goals for the year 2000.  Instead, the Department presents the much weaker goals it included in the 2001-2005 Highway Performance and Safety Plan, issued in September 2000. Further, it does not reveal that the Department substituted the weaker goals, rather than using those from the 2000-2005 Plan it claims to evaluate. Of course it is much easier for the Department to make programs look good if it weakens your goals to match weakened performance.

Weaker goals substituted in secret

For example, the plan states the goal to "Reduce New Mexico's traffic fatality rate from 26.6 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 24.4 in 2001 and 22 in 2005" from the 2001-2005 Plan page 26. But until September 2000 the agency's stated goal was to "reduce New Mexico's traffic fatality rate from 24.4 per 100,000 population in 1998 to 23 in 1999; 22 in 2000; and 20 in 2005." (see 2000-2005 Plan page 23).  The report does not mention that 1998 rate in this report and does not mention that its new 2001 goal is to achieve the same death rate the state already had in 1998 -- no progress for three years, despite unprecedented high funding levels.

Claiming progress but hiding numbers

The report claims "progress" in "attaining these performance goals", but it provides only small graphs and no numbers, hiding the fact that in many cases even the weaker goals stated were numerically not met. For example, the fatality rate per 100,000 population for the chosen period of November 1999-October 2000 was 24.6,  12% higher than the Department's 2000 goal. The choice to exclude years before 1996 from the graphs conceals the fact that the Department's programs are not producing the steep declines seen in prior years.

Concealing Bad News

The report does not point out that the November 1999-October 2000 rate of fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled is 1.60, 3% higher than the actual rate of 1.56 for 1998, 3% higher than the state Accountability in Government Act performance target of 1.56 in the FY2001 state budget, and 19% higher than the goal in the 2000-2005 plan goal to "reduce New Mexico's fatal traffic crash rate from 1.56 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 1998 to 1.50 in 1999; 1.35 in 2000; and 1.25 in 2005".  The report again fails to state the 2000-2005 Plan goal, instead stating the weaker goal as quietly amended in September 2000 while concealing the substitution.

NM Traffic Safety 2000 Annual Report to the Governor page 3


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Last updated 01/13/01