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Summer Months are the Most Dangerous on Nevada Roadways

Safe Summer Driving in Nevada

The Nevada Highway Patrol and traffic safety officials are reminding drivers to be extra cautious on the roads this summer; in fact, the period between June and September is known as the “100 deadliest days”. This is partly because the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day marks increased traveling and tourism. These drivers are often tired, overheated, and many times unfamiliar tourists who can increase the chances of collisions and fatal vehicle accidents.

To help combat these crashes, the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety has created the “Save Yourself Campaign”. This campaign, which is on Phase 3, ensures that drivers are defensive and safe on highways. The current phase 3 specifically targets driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana [1]. The following are some of the main initiatives of the program:

  • Educating divers that their actions have a direct impact on the road and community. Save yourself campaign leaders emphasize that always driving sober is important because it can create a domino effect that could potentially decrease and eventually eliminate road fatalities.
  • Fifty percent of crashes in Nevada can be related to impaired driving, and DUI accidents are the biggest cause of road fatalities in the State.
  • When it comes to Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), the legal amount is less than 0.08%, however a level of even 0.02% can make it more difficult for the driver to make safe decisions. In addition, the high temperatures characteristic by Nevada summers can increase BAC more quickly and cause severe dehydration.
  • “Save Yourself” also wants to bring a wider understanding to DUIs, and reminds the public that any substance can impair your driving abilities—not just alcohol. These substances include weed, opioids, etc.
  • 44 people lost their lives to impaired driving in 2019 in Nevada, which was a thirteen percent jump from 2018. In addition to these lives lost, DUIs cost drivers more than $10,000 per DUI. It is safer and simpler to choose a designated driver or opt to use a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft. Spending between $20 and $100 on a taxi or Uber is more convenient than paying thousands in the long run.
  • The phase 3 stage will last through August 2021. It will target more vulnerable audiences like young teens. It will also emphasize personal responsibility and focus on the idea of “saving oneself”. [2]

Push to Improve Pedestrian Safety

Similar to how campaigns like “Save Yourself” work to raise awareness during summer driving, the City of Reno is working on improving pedestrian safety in its Downtown area. On June 29, the city installed a pedestrian safety zone, the first in the entire State of Nevada [2]. This safety zone consists of a 20mph bright yellow traffic zone sign that can be found near Fourth Street, Lake Street, and the Reno Transportation Commission’s bus station. The sign also warns that fines will be higher if caught speeding or breaking the law in that area.

This zone hopes to decrease pedestrian accidents in Reno. Pedestrian safety is a growing problem in both Northern and Southern Nevada, and the State has one the highest rates of fatalities in the country. Nevada saw a nineteen percent increase in fatal pedestrian crashes between 2019 and 2020. The zone will ameliorate the rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities by vehicular collision. The zone, which will function like a school or construction zone, will fine individual speeders. It will also allow law enforcement to monitor speeding, reckless driving, and DUIs in the area. For the first few weeks Reno residents will not be heavily ticketed in the area as they more accustomed to the change. However, in the long run, the Reno Police Department hopes to expand the program and fine drivers as well as expand to other parts of the city that are pedestrian heavy. As of now, new zones are planned near the River Walk, Courthouse, Senior Center, Homeless Shelter, and some bus stops.  The Reno Police also hope that these zones can increase prevention and can decrease the need to ticket or arrest drivers. Washoe County’s increased monitoring and awareness regarding pedestrian safety has proved successful, and the county saw a thirteen percent decrease in deaths from 2019 to 2020. Las Vegas and Clark County officials are aware of these programs and if they see more long-term success they hope to bring these zones to Southern Nevada.

Taking small steps like personal accountability and following traffic rules during these summer months can ensure that we keep Nevada’s roads safer, and everyone can enjoy these warmer months.

[1] https://ots.nv.gov/

[2] https://www.ktnv.com/traffic/june-through-september-mark-the-100-deadliest-days-on-valley-roadways

[3] https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2021/06/29/city-of-reno-establishes-the-first-pedestrian-safety-zone-in-the-state-of-nevada/7796171002/

Image Credit:  State Farm

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