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A Look at 2021 Traffic Stats and New Rules of the Road in Nevada

2021 was a difficult year for many Nevadans, from having to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment issues, and the effects of rising inflation on just about everything. 2021 was also the deadliest year on Nevada roads in 15 years and in December 2021 alone, there were 26 traffic related fatalities. In 2021 there were 382 traffic-related fatalities, an eighteen percent increase from 2020 and a 21 percent increase from 2019. The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety reported that the top causes were impairment and speeding. In addition, 85 deaths were pedestrian related and Motorcycle deaths also increased, with 60 deaths in 2020 to 79 in 2021. [1] The one silver lining of the report was the decrease of deaths related to unrestrained passengers, which dropped from 80 in 2020 to 74 in 2021.

Clark County, which accounts for 2/3rds of the Nevada’s population likewise saw an increase in fatal accidents. 66 of Nevada’s 85 pedestrian deaths occurred in Clark County and 57 of the 74 motorcycle crash fatalities occurred in the county— an increase from 38 last year. However, Washoe County, Nevada’s second largest population center, saw a drop in fatal crashes— 50 in 2020 to 42 in 2021 (a 16 percent decrease). Washoe also saw a 17 percent decrease in pedestrian deaths from 2020. Rural counties like Nye County generally saw increases in fatal crashes as well. In Nye, 17 wrecks involving 24 related fatalities were reported last year, up from 12 and 14, respectively, in 2020. [2]

2022 Road Fatalities Off to a Sobering Start

Fatal accidents continue to rise in 2022, and on January 10th, four people died in a wrong way crash on Interstate 15 south of Las Vegas according to the Nevada State Police. The driver of a Cadillac entered in a northbound direction on the southbound lane. It collided with a pickup truck which caught on fire and tragically killed everyone inside. The driver of the Cadillac was also killed. Surrounding vehicles also swerved to avoid the collision and resulted in two hospitalizations due to injuries. Officials note that this is the first wrong-way fatality in Southern Nevada for the year and suspect that impairment as well as high speeds could have been a cause. [3]

Wrong way accidents are more common in Nevada than one may think. Nevada Highway Safety officers attribute two things to these incidents: drunk and impaired drivers and tired drivers, especially truck drivers, who fall asleep and cross the medians. Highway safety officer Andrew Bennet says that many wrong-way crashes in Nevada occur in the fast left lane. This is because when drivers go the wrong way they try to make their way to the far-right lane so as to not draw attention to themselves. Unfortunately, this results in them being in the fast lane.  Bennet also notes that wrong way crashes are also common in the more rural Nevada roads. To combat wrong-way drivers, many ramps throughout the state have been equipped with ramp signs and lights to warn motorists heading in the wrong direction [4].

New Rules of the Road in Nevada in 2022

While the New Year brought new accidents and safety concerns, it also means that new laws go into effect. Beginning this month, a new Nevada car seat law goes into effect and requires children under the age of six and less than or equal to 57 inches to be riding in a car seat. Previously, the law only required one of these requirements to be true, but now both must be adhered to be considered legal in Nevada. In addition, the new law also requires children under the age of two to be in rear facing car seats in the backseat of a vehicle. Rear-facing car seats decrease the impact on the child and allows the car-seat to absorb the impact versus the child. In Nevada, a first-time offense regarding a child’s restraints can range from a warning to a 100 dollar fine. A third offense can result in suspension of driving license. While laws changes can be confusing, it is always best to consult State law changes to ensure you heeding the rules of the road. It is also important to install and follow the manual of your car seat to ensure the safety of your child. [5]






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