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Nevada First Quarter Traffic Data is Promising, Changes to Come

As we near the end of April, Nevada State Police has reported first quarter data from Nevada roads. This year, there have been sixty-nine lives lost on Nevada roads, which is a nineteen percent decrease from this time in 2022. In addition, there were twenty-two pedestrian fatalities, and fourteen fatalities because of unrestrained motorists. Forty-nine of the sixty-nine lives lost were in Southern Nevada. The first quarter data shows promise that Nevada will see a decline in fatalities this year, following consistent increases over the past few years, as well as 2022 having the most fatalities in nearly two decades. [1]

The Nevada State Police has reported that speed and impairment remain leading causes of fatalities on Nevada roads.

Changes in High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Southern Nevada

The end of the first quarter of 2023 also means some adjustments to traffic patterns in Southern Nevada, and in Late-April or early May, motorists in the region will soon notice a change to the Hight Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV). On Monday, April 10, the Nevada Department of Transportation board voted to change the hours of operations on Las Vegas Valley freeways. Nevada Lieutenant Governor, Stavros Anthony states that after he spoke to many Las Vegas Valley residents, he realized that “…They don’t like them. The want to use them, they believe they were for them and were sick and tired of sitting in traffic while watching empty HOV lanes.” [2]

To combat this, the NDOT plans to change HOV lanes to only operate from 6 am to 8 am and then from 4pm to 6pm, and only from Monday to Friday. NDOT also considered several other options, including eliminating the lanes altogether, creating express lanes, etc. However, both options would require state officials to conduct traffic studies for two plus years, so the solution they landed on is both cost and time effective.

Along with these changes, NDOT plans to continue federally required studies to determine the economic impacts of the removal of HOV lanes, as well as partnering with Nevada State Police to better patrol and enforce HOV enforcement. Las Vegas Municipal Court reported that between January 1, 2021, and April 1, 2023, there have been more than 800 HOV Lane violation, and Las Vegas City reports show that 450 of those cases pled guilty and almost 300 were dismissed. [3]

Reducing Impairment and Speed-Related Traffic Deaths

Speeding and impairment continues to remain a leading cause in Nevada traffic fatalities, and this is a pattern nation-wide. In 2020, speeding accidents killed more than eleven thousand people, making up nearly thirty percent of fatalities nationwide.[4] Impaired driving is equally deadly, as drunk drivers accounted for twenty-eight percent of American traffic fatalities, which means it kills more than ten thousand people a year. [5]

Speeding not only includes driving over the speed limit, but also driving at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions, like when there is bad weather, a construction zone, or a poorly lit area at night. Speeding has multiple consequence including the following:

  • Higher risk of losing control of the vehicles

  • Reduces the effectiveness of car’s safety features like airbags, seatbelts, automatic breaking, etc

  • Increases the stopping distance if a driver needs to break quickly due to perceived danger

  • Increases the severity of and possible injuries from a crash

  • Can increase the economic implications of a crash (for example more property damage)

  • Increases fuel consumption/cost

Similarly driving under the influence comes with similar consequences. Driving impaired from either alcohol or drugs can result in jail or prison time depending on your blood alcohol content, and a DUI is a felony when someone is seriously injured or killed while you were driving.

Reducing speed, abstaining from drinking and driving and being responsible behind the wheel are the best ways to combat these accidents and fatalities. As Nevadans, we have a responsibility when we are behind the wheel to both those in the car, and those we are sharing the road with, including pedestrians and bikers. If we all continue to be more cautious and aware of others around us, we can continue to see decreases in fatalities on our roads.






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