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Las Vegas Deals With Spate of Fatal Vehicle Accidents

The Nevada Department of Highway Safety reported this weekend that the number of fatal accidents in Clark County are continuing to climb, raising some concern among officials. The Department of Highway Safety’s Public information officer stated that this increase was not normal and does not reflect the usual decline in fatalities official see during this time of the year. He also voiced a sense of urgency and frustration regarding this increase and stated that Nevadans must make it a priority to make good decisions and reduce recklessness while driving.

This concern was sparked after there were six deadly accidents within a four-hour period late Friday night and early Saturday morning, September 17th. This marked the 142nd traffic death of 2021, and this number makes up about half the traffic deaths in Nevada as a whole. While in past years, Nevada has seen an average of a 23.5 percent increase, this year, officials are predicting a 25 to 30 percent increase, with Nevada fatalities already being five percent up from last.

While many may attribute the accidents in Las Vegas to the thousands of visitors coming in for concert events like the IHeart Music Festival or Life is Beautiful, or sporting events like Raiders and UNLV games, the NDP warns this is not the case. Over 80 percent of these accidents involve Las Vegas residents or drivers that hold a Nevada license.  Rather than increased traffic, officials attribute this increase to a nationwide trend in the increase of reckless driving in this post-quarantine time. To combat this increase, the NHP are increasing DUI enforcement as well as enforcement on seatbelt usage, speeding, and distracted driving. [1]

A Look at Some of The Accidents

During the early hours of September 16th, a teen boy was killed in a DUI accident in Northeast Las Vegas. Investigators stated that a driver of a SUV ran a red light and was struck by a truck that had also run a red light. The driver of the truck was impaired and the passenger in the SUV was killed; the truck’s driver was later taken into custody.[2]

On September 17th around 9 PM, Henderson Police responded to another fatal accident, this time involving a bicyclist. A driver had changed lanes and drifted into the bicycle lane causing the collision. The 29-year-old biker was transported to the hospital but succumbed to the injuries sustained during the crash. [3]

Both these incidents had unfortunate results and serves as a reminder for Nevadans to make better decisions while on the road. Driving Under the Influence is never worth it; it is always better to get someone who is sober to drive or to heil a rideshare or taxi.

Bicycle Safety in Nevada

The previous incident also serves as a reminder of the importance of sharing the road with others, especially bikers. Safe passing is the motorist’s responsibility.  Nevada Law states that when passing, you must move into an adjacent lane to the left if possible.  If not, you must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance between your car and the bicycle.  It is also important that bikers yield to other bikers as they would a pedestrian or other motorist. In addition, you should never park or drive in a bike lane unless there is an emergency or you need the space to turn.

Lastly, be even more careful when around inexperienced bikers, especially in areas like a school zone. In places like a school zone, you may find younger bikers who are less cognizant of their surroundings and are not as aware of crosswalks, bike lanes, etc. When in these areas slow down, yield to the biker or pedestrian, and be prepared to stop.

As a bicyclist it is important to ride on the right and stay as far right as possible. It is also important to learn all the signals and signs in the area you choose to ride and to teach children and familiarize them with the rules of the area. One of the most important things to learn/teach are the hand signals for turns and stops, because these help motorists know the biker’s intent and reduces the chance of a collision. Lastly, stay at least three feet from parked vehicles and wear bright clothing or reflective material when riding at night.

Perhaps the most important thing is to wear a helmet when riding. Bike helmets can reduce risk of severe head trauma by 85 percent. When wearing a helmet make sure it is low on the forehead and there is a two-finger space between the helmet and your eyebrows. The straps on the side of the helmet should meet under the ear to form a “V”. The chin strap should be snug and should pull the helmet down when opening your mouth. Lastly, always replace damaged helmets or helmets that have been in a crash. [4]





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