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Nevada Among the Worst States for Pedestrian Deaths

By David Boehrer | Posted on October 04, 2019

Nevada is among the worst states for pedestrian fatalities according to a recent report. The state ranks sixth in the nation with 2.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents.

Nevada Pedestrian Deaths

The report, “Pedestrian Safety Special Investigative Report”, was released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) showing pedestrian deaths between 2007 and 2016. According to the report, 5,987 pedestrians were killed on American roadways in 2016, averaging 16 pedestrian deaths each day of the year. In Nevada, 80 pedestrians were killed that year. Clark County alone saw 57 of those deaths.

The NTSB report was the first in-depth study on pedestrian safety since the 1970s. The report was put together based on state infrastructure improvements, technological advances in automobiles, and needs for improving pedestrian safety. Based on the study, the investigative report concluded a need for better pedestrian safety, especially in busy areas with many pedestrians around moving vehicles. Safety improvement suggestions included:

  • Brighter street lighting
  • Traffic barriers
  • Street islands and landscaping areas
  • Crosswalks with flashing walk/stop signals
  • More traffic signals to slow traffic
  • Improved vehicle lighting systems

The report focused on issues common to all pedestrians without separating subgroups or specific safety measures for special events. Report recommendations were forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Over the past five years, Nevada has consistently ranked among the 10 worst states for pedestrian fatalities. Accident reports show that almost 90 percent of pedestrians and drivers involved in fatal crashes are local residents, not visitors. In busy pedestrian areas where tourists are present, attorneys in Henderson NV commonly see pedestrians who are hit by moving vehicles, with injuries that range from minor to severe.

Pedestrian Safety Barriers

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), pedestrian fatalities in 2016 rose by 46 percent over fatalities in 2015. In 2017, Nevada saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths on record with 99 fatalities. If pedestrian deaths continue to rise at this rate, they will outpace deaths from prostate cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, HIV, influenza, pneumonia, and homicides in Nevada.

With the consistent rise in Nevada pedestrian deaths, some cities are taking notice and making changes to improve safety. In January 2018, Las Vegas completed phase one of installing pedestrian barriers along the Vegas Strip. The project included the installation of 800 steel barrier posts along Las Vegas Boulevard between Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road. The posts are equally spaced and permanently mounted. They’re designed to withstand the impact of a vehicle weighing as much as 15,000 pounds, weight that’s equivalent to a 30-foot truck traveling at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Las Vegas approved a phase-two plan for an additional 7,500 steel posts scheduled for installation within the next year.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Car collisions with pedestrians cause serious, life-threatening injuries and deaths to pedestrians, as well as vehicle drivers and passengers. The most common accident sites include:

  • Crosswalks – Crosswalks are dangerous because drivers often don’t see them until they get right upon them. Pedestrians rely on crosswalk signals for a safe crossing, but many people step into the crosswalk too early or too late. Pedestrians who jaywalk in unmarked crosswalks face significant risks of injury and/or death.
  • Sidewalks – With thousands of visitors on sidewalks in busy city areas, pedestrians are often struck by cars that lose control and jump the curb. On sidewalks with no barrier protection, both adults and children are vulnerable to injuries and fatalities caused by distracted, drowsy, and intoxicated drivers.

Pedestrian Accident Prevention

Pedestrian injuries and deaths are preventable when caution is used. To maximize safety, pedestrians must use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible. If pedestrian bridges or tunnels are available, these are safer options. All pedestrians must obey traffic lights, stop signs, and traffic control devices with walk/stop signals. Pedestrians should stay on the right-hand side of the crosswalk whenever possible for maximum safety. If there is no crosswalk, pedestrians must check for oncoming traffic in all directions before stepping into the street. Fast-moving cars will not be able to stop in time without adequate warning.

If areas do not have sidewalks, pedestrians should always walk on the left side of the street or road, facing oncoming traffic. Walking in the same direction as moving vehicles poses increased risks of getting struck by a car from behind. Attorneys in Henderson NV often see hit-and-run accidents in areas without sidewalks.

Children do not have proper judgment skills to understand traffic dangers. They assume if they see the driver, the driver also sees them. Children can not judge vehicle speeds, so they are likely to misjudge the time they have to cross the street. For maximum safety, children should always cross the street with an adult.

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