2021 was a difficult year for southern Nevadans regarding fatal accidents, as the region saw one of its worst years for fatalities since 2010. While there was hope for 2022, early statistics for the first two months show little promise. There were 21 deaths reported on Nevada roads last month, which was the same number as February of 2021. Clark County fatalities have increased from last years and there have been 39 deaths reported in the first two months of the year, a 36% increase from the 31 deaths reported in 2021 over the same span. However, the Nevada Department of Public Safety did find that overall fatalities in Nevada as a whole are down 15% from last year, with 46 deaths in comparison to 54. Statewide, pedestrian fatalities have also increased with 16 so far in 2022 .
A Bleak 24 Hours on Nevada Roadways
On Sunday March 13, at least five people died in a 24-hour period on Southern Nevada roads. The next day, Monday March 14, three different law enforcement agencies reported separate fatal crashes, which happened to be the same day a family held funeral services for a 13-year-old Henderson boy fatally struck by a car a week earlier. The boy was standing on a sidewalk near Mannion Middle School when a driver lost control of his car and went up on a sidewalk. These accidents occurred just days after two motorists were killed in North Las Vegas. Henderson police also said a bicyclist was in critical condition after an accident on March 14 at night.
These accidents highlight the growing number of traffic-related fatalities in Southern Nevada, and as mentioned earlier, Clark County is the only Nevada county to report an increase in fatal accidents in comparison to the first two months of 2021. This increase has continued into the third month of the year, and during the first two weeks of March there have been at least 13 fatalities and several others still in critical condition.
One of the most devastating crashes included a large crash in late January that involved a speeding driver who killed himself and eight others—seven of which were in the same vehicle. One of the Monday crashes involved a single-vehicle rollover crash, and another accident involved a motorcyclist fatality after a collision with an SUV. Another incident involved a motorist hit and run where the car lost control and struck two sleeping people on the sidewalk.
Speeding Kills and Reduces Reaction Time
One of the most devastating crashes included a large crash in late January that involved a speeding driver who killed himself and eight others—seven of which were in the same vehicle. One of the Monday crashes involved a single-vehicle rollover crash, and another accident involved a motorcyclist fatality after a collision with an SUV. Another incident involved a motorist that lost control of his vehicle and struck two sleeping people on the sidewalk.
Considering these tragedies, Clark County police departments continue to call for drivers to slow down on the roadways. The newly formed Office of Traffic Safety continues to encourage drivers to “slow down, pay attention, and drive like lives are on the line” . Speed increases the chance of fatalities in a car accident – for every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash nearly doubles. A 2018 study showed that speed accounted for nearly 1/3 of all traffic deaths and speed also reduces driver reaction time as well as the effectiveness of a vehicle’s built-in safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, and automatic braking. Speeding and driving also increases the chance of pedestrian and bicyclist collisions, once again showing that a driver’s decisions on the road can put others at risk. 
Does Nevada Have the Worst Drivers?
The recent slate of fatal accidents has not helped Nevada’s reputation for having good drivers. A report done by Car Insurance Comparison ranked Nevada 10th in the US among states with the worst drivers. They utilized the following five categories to decide:
- Car accident death rates
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Drunk driving
- Negligent driving
Of the five categories, Nevada scored the worst on speeding and careless driving, and the Car Insurance Comparison report stated: “Nearly 29% of all fatal accidents in Nevada involved at least one driver who was speeding. Our careless driving category looks at pedestrian and cyclist death rates. In Nevada, the pedestrian death rate was 2.01 per capita (per 100,000 population), and the cyclist death rate was 0.26.”