As the days get darker, a new campaign aims to encourage drivers and pedestrians to look out for one another on Las Vegas Valley roads.
The Dusk to Dawn Pedestrian Awareness campaign quietly launched last week with volunteers drawing body outlines on streets where pedestrians have been killed.
“For this eye-opening project the effect that we were going for was for people to understand, as you drive the normal routes you go in our community, that you’re traveling over sacred land where a lot of pedestrians have lost their lives,” Erin Breen, coordinator of UNLV’s Traffic Safety Coalition, said Monday at a news conference officially launching the campaign.
The chalk outlines have been painted across the valley, and the Vulnerable Road Users Project has an interactive map online that tells some of the stories behind the outlines.
Dusk to Dawn is part of a partnership between law enforcement, safety advocates and community members and was created in reaction to a spike in pedestrian fatalities this spring. So far this year, Breen said, 41 pedestrians have been killed by vehicles. Last year, a total of 68 pedestrians were killed.
“The most tragic part, the most disheartening part, about all of this is that every single one of these deaths are preventable. They didn’t have to happen,” Lt. Bret Ficklin of the Metropolitan Police Department’s traffic bureau said.
Ficklin said people who walk along valley roads must use crosswalks and make sure they’re as visible as possible, even at night. Pedestrians should always stop and wait for vehicles to pass, rather than trusting that drivers will stop and wait for them to cross.
“It just may very well be your actions that go to save your own life,” he said.
As part of the campaign, reflective snap bracelets have been donated to the campaign by Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, Community Ambulance, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the law firm Lerner and Rowe.
The snap bands, as well as clip-on strobe lights and reflective backpacks, will be distributed to people who walk, bike or use public transit in the valley, Breen said. Artwork by two Las Vegas students is featured in the campaign’s ads and will appear on bus shelters and inside buses, on television and on social media.