Rogue drivers, beware. The cops are looking for you.
They know where you’re likely to be. They know the things you do wrong. They know the consequences.
“The places where we see most of the problems are the places where we’ll be,” said Las Vegas police officer Laura Meltzer.
She was talking about a push by local traffic cops to crack down on the valley’s most crash-prone intersections.
Funded by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, the push began last week and runs through May 22.
It’s serious business.
Traffic officers from agencies across Southern Nevada will hang out at or near the most dangerous intersections.
The first event, staged last week at Charleston and Lamb boulevards, ended with 197 traffic stops, 317 citations and two arrests, one for impaired driving and one for an outstanding warrant.
Charleston and Lamb, by the way, was the valley’s second-most crash-prone intersection in 2012, closely following Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.
Other dangerous intersections include Tropicana and Eastern avenues, Flamingo and Eastern, Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, Decatur Boulevard and Flamingo, and pretty much any major road that crosses the Strip.
The specific numbers vary, but it’s almost always the same intersections year after year.
In 2012, there were 498 crashes in the 10 intersections with the most crashes, police data show. Las Vegas police worked a total of 23,880 wrecks for the whole year. Nearly half of them involved at least one injury; and they included 109 deaths, 40 of them pedestrians. That was up from 72 deaths the year before.
The most common causes were speeding, pedestrian error, improper driving and failing to yield the right of way.
In other words, drivers aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
You see this every day, as do I. People blow through yellow lights like it’s a challenge, not a warning. They change lanes without using turn signals, dart between traffic, talk on their cellphones, drive 20 mph over the speed limit.
All of this in a town built on high-speed roads. Six-lane highways, sometimes eight-lane highways, with speed limits of 45 mph. Look at the list of dangerous intersections. They all are huge roads with high speed limits. Many of them have obstructions, buildings and hidden driveways.
It’s a recipe for disaster.
But I feel like I’m preaching to the choir here. You guys don’t drive like that, do you?
Of course you don’t. Y’all read this column. You love the rules. You turn your cellphones off and stow them in the glove compartment before you even start the car. You’ve never changed lanes without signaling, wouldn’t even consider driving through a crosswalk if people were anywhere near it, and aren’t even sure if your car would go over 65 mph because you’ve never tried it.
Bwahaha. Kidding! No one drives like that.
Which is why I’m warning you. Those intersections in the chart? Be careful. There will be cops swarming all over them for the next couple of months. They will be at other intersections, too. Meltzer mentioned a few of them on West Charleston, for example.
They’re going to target anything that could cause a crash, like texting while driving, failing to maintain a lane, not yielding the right of way and driving under the influence.
It’s human nature to stretch the rules. To push just a little bit further than you’re supposed to. To think it’s the other guy who’s the problem, not you.
Virtually everyone does this. I know I do. But I’ll be less likely to do it if I know the cops are watching.
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