Las Vegas police step up traffic enforcement to reduce fatalities

Las Vegas police know where vehicle crashes most often occur and on Monday began monitoring those areas closely.

Intersections “with a high frequency of collisions” will be under increased scrutiny to curb bad driving, police said in a news release.

The enforcement push will last through May 22 and is meant to raise awareness about increased traffic fatalities throughout the valley, police said.

Patrol officers will target bad driving that could cause accidents, including texting while driving, failing to maintain a lane, failing to yield right of way, distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The intersections that will be targeted are Charleston and Lamb boulevards and Decatur Boulevard and Flamingo Road.

Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said the stepped-up enforcement could lead to officers writing more tickets. But drivers might drive more carefully just because police will be more visible at targeted intersections, she said.

“A lot of times when officers are present, it does change driving habits,” Meltzer said.

There was an increase in traffic fatalities within the jurisdiction of Las Vegas police in 2012 compared with the previous year. Meltzer said.

In 2012, the department saw 109 vehicle-related fatalities. Of those, 40 were pedestrians. In 2011, traffic crashes killed 72 people, 23 of whom were pedestrians.

So far, Las Vegas police have seen plenty of carnage on valley roads in 2013.

Through the afternoon of March 11, there have been 25 traffic-related deaths, including eight pedestrians.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Traffic Bureau will monitor the intersections.

The increased enforcement is sponsored by a grant from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, police said.

Other agencies will conduct similar enforcement in their communities, including Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite police and the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.