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Nevada Traffic Fatalities Down for 2019

While events on the international stage have ranged from uncertain to terrifying over the last several weeks, there is some sunny news out of Nevada. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the state saw a nearly 50 percent decline in traffic deaths this June compared to June of 2018. There were 16 fatal car crashes resulting in 16 deaths last month. This figure is down 48 percent from last year.

One could say that looking only at a single month each year is prone to yielding variation without a meaningful underlying difference. But the trend holds even on an annual basis. Since January, there have been 125 traffic fatalities in the state of Nevada compared to 162 by this time last year. (In fairness, the latter figure may be slightly inflated, as 2018 was a record year for deadly car crashes in Nevada, with a total of 331 deaths reported over the course of the twelve months.) [1]

There is some concern that the numbers will rise as we continue into the hottest part of the summer. Traditionally, this period that falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest time of the year to be on the road. Summer months coincide with school breaks and summer vacations. Many people choose to vacation in the summer, taking long car trips with friends and family. People are more likely to celebrate with alcohol around holidays, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Inexperienced teen drivers are more likely to be on the road and out of the classroom during the summer. [2]

However, while traffic fatalities were way down compared to last June, pedestrian deaths are slightly up this year. Thirty-eight pedestrians were killed on Nevada streets through the end of June, compared to just thirty-two last year. This corresponds to a 19 percent increase compared to last year’s figures. [3]

Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many traffic fatalities are caused by human error and irresponsible behavior. In 2016, deaths related to reckless behaviors, such as speeding, alcohol impairment, and not wearing seatbelts, increased significantly. Drunk driving deaths increased by 1.7 percent, speeding-related deaths increased by 4 percent, and unbelted deaths increased by 4.6 percent. All of these fatalities were due in part to irresponsible behavior on the part of the driver and were likely preventable. [4]

Safe Summer Driving

Although summer may traditionally be the deadliest season to be on the road, there are several steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe on long summer road trips. Before you embark on any major road trip, check to make sure that you have kept up with all regularly scheduled maintenance on your vehicle. If you’re not sure, schedule a checkup with a mechanic. Check for recent recalls on your vehicle to see if any part of your vehicle needs to be repaired or replaced. Take a look at your tires to check for tread wear and air pressure. Tires naturally lose pressure over time, and air pumps can be located at most gas stations in Nevada. Have someone walk around the vehicle and check that the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and emergency lights are all working. Check all fluid levels, including coolant, oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. Take a quick peek under the hood to make sure that no belts are obviously cracking or fraying. Replace your wiper blades if you anticipate any sort of precipitation – wiper blades naturally degrade over time. [5]

Another easy step you can take to protect your family on long summer car trips is to pack a thorough emergency kit. It is recommended to keep the following items in your car any time you are travelling out of town:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Drinking water
  • Basic repair tools
  • Duct tape
  • A first aid kit
  • Tire jack and spare tire
  • Nonperishable foods [6]

Reporting Dangerous Drivers

If you see someone driving recklessly this summer or operating a vehicle that doesn’t appear to be properly maintained, you can keep the roads safe for yourself and others by reporting them. Pull over to a safe location and call the police. Provide a basic description of the car and the location of the vehicle. A license plate number is helpful but not completely necessary. If you deem the situation to be hazardous but not life-threatening, you can also make a safety report online when you get home and report the driver that way. Never put yourself in danger in order to report a dangerous driver. [7]

If you or someone you know is injured in a car accident this summer, don’t panic. Call 911 for help immediately and move yourself and others out of the way of oncoming traffic. Gather evidence at the scene, including photographs and contact information for any witnesses’ present. When law enforcement arrives, answer any questions they might have. Seek appropriate medical attention for injuries sustained. Finally, contact a personal injury attorney to make sure you understand your rights as an injured party.






[6] Ibid.


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