Rise in Pedestrian Accidents Leads Nevada Highway Patrol to Crack Down

As Nevadans closed out 2021, fatal traffic crashes continued to rise statewide at an alarming rate — especially pedestrian crashes. In October, Nevada Highway Patrol in Las Vegas responded to a pedestrian crash on Interstate 15 near the Starr Avenue and Cactus Avenue exit. This marked the 110th traffic fatality in the Las Vegas Police’s jurisdiction in 2021.[1]  Later in the week, a young boy was killed in Northwest Las Vegas as he was crossing at a traffic signal. [2] All told, there were 350 motor vehicle fatalities in the State of Nevada in 2021, a grim total and and the highest on record in more then 10 years.

This increase of fatalities on Nevada roadways has raised concern among many traffic officials and beginning mid-October, Nevada Law Enforcement stepped up pedestrian patrol efforts. The effort, a part of the Nevada Joining Forces program, hopes that drivers and pedestrians will become more aware of each other. This program hopes to combat the 23.6 percent increase in pedestrian deaths seen in 2020. Starting in October, law enforcement in Las Vegas and Reno began citing pedestrians and motor vehicles violating traffic laws. This includes pedestrians jaywalking or walking in a non-designated section like freeways. For drivers, this means not giving the right of way to the pedestrian or failing to stop at crosswalks. [3].

Things to Keep in Mind as A Pedestrian

We are all pedestrians at least one time a day, whether it means walking in a parking lot, on the sidewalk, or crossing the street. When walking it is important to be aware of your surroundings and try to keep the following things in mind:

  1. Try and be Predictable. This means following the rules of the road and using crosswalks, pedestrian bridges, and sidewalks.
  2. Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If one isn’t available, walk as far left away from traffic as possible, facing traffic.
  3. Stay alert. Avoid looking at your phone or listening to loud music
  4. Be cautious and look all ways. Even if you are crossing at a crosswalk or marked area,  some incoming cars may show no sign of stopping. In addition, account for cars that may be turning.
  5. Double-check that the driver saw you. This means making eye contact with the driver or making some signal as they approach you
  6. Visibility is key. Wear bright clothes and if you are walking at night, choose reflective materials and walk with a flashlight or use your phone’s light.
  7. Like with drivers, avoid walking under the influence. This impairs your judgment and reaction abilities.

Things to Keep in Mind as A Driver

Drivers can also ensure the safety of pedestrians by following some simple precautions:

  1. Always look for pedestrians, especially in hard to see conditions like the night or poor weather conditions.
  2. When entering an area with crosswalks, be extra cautious and expect to stop. If you are in an area like a school zone, obey the reduced speed limits, as this protects pedestrian safety.
  3. Yield to the pedestrian and give them enough space: When approaching a crosswalk, be prepared to stop and leave space between the car and the walking area. This gives pedestrians space, but also notifies other cars to stop for the pedestrian as well.
  4. Drive at the Speed Limit: This may seem self-explanatory, but it is the easiest way to spot pedestrians and stop in time.
  5. Stay in your lane: Drifting and excessive lane change may cause your car to swerve into a pedestrian lane and strike them. Careful lane changes and driving at the speed limit can prevent this.
  6. Be extra cautious when you are in places like a parking lot: places like parking lots have a high concentration of pedestrians. A major lookout is when you backup, as pedestrians can be in your path or in your blind spot.
  7. Do not Drive Under the Influence: Like with pedestrians, it impairs your judgment and reaction abilities.
  8. At night, ensure that your headlights are on. This allows the pedestrians as well as other vehicles to see you in the dark and allows you to see the road ahead of you. [4]

Lastly, ensure you teach young children basic rules such as looking both ways before crossing the street. This can help decrease their chance of accidentally crossing and putting themself in harm’s way. In addition, remind teen drivers of pedestrians and to reduce their speeds in school and pedestrian-heavy areas. Taking these steps can help make Nevada roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

[1]https://www.ktnv.com/traffic/nevada-highway-patrol-investigating-deadly-crash-involving-pedestrian-on-interstate-15

[2] https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-news/person-in-critical-condition-after-northwest-las-vegas-crash/

[3] https://carsonnow.org/story/10/05/2021/nhp-nevada-law-enforcement-steps-patrol-efforts-part-pedestrian-safety-campaign

[4] https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety

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