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Tips to help motorists and pedestrians keep safe on Las Vegas roads

Updated February 8, 2024 - 1:38 pm

The January traffic death toll of 31 reported by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Nevada Highway Patrol and Henderson police concerns the director of UNLV’s Road Equity Alliance and Vulnerable Road Users Project.

“We normally have 15 to 20 fatalities in a January and this year we are nearly double that,” Erin Breen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “My personal opinion is that people’s behavior has gotten far more outlandish and far more selfish in the past few years.”

The fatalities included 16 pedestrians — most of whom were outside crosswalks when struck — and a mother and her two young children who were killed by an alleged DUI suspect in Henderson.

The crash that killed a motorist Jan.27 in far east Las Vegas would’ve marked the 32nd official fatality, but Las Vegas police did not rule her death death as a traffic fatality because she died by suicide, they said.

To Metro Lt. Daryl Rhoads, the loss of motorists, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians represents much more than a number.

Rhoads, who’s part of the Las Vegas police unit that investigates life-threatening and fatal crashes, has lost count of how many times he’s seen family members of victims show up to scenes, wondering why their loved ones didn’t make it home, he recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“It’s just tragic,” Rhoads said about how all, if not most, of the deaths are avoidable. “Good people making bad decisions can alter the course of their life.”

The lieutenant provided a refresher on tips for people to stay safe on the roads:

Walking

— Use crosswalks: Taking a couple of minutes to walk to one instead of jaywalking can save your life.

— Make eye contact with motorists when crossing because just because you can see the vehicles doesn’t mean their operators can see you.

— Be aware of your surroundings at all time.

— Keep your eyes off your phones and other distractions when crossing.

— Walking at night? Wear bright-colored, or reflective clothing because there’s a good chance motorists will have a hard time seeing someone in darker clothes.

Cycling

— Follow the rules of the road.

— Wear reflective clothing at night.

— Make sure your bike is equipped with bright, flashing lights on the front and back.

— Practice defensive riding and pay extra attention for at least the 100 yards before each intersection.

— Be extra careful on far right lanes because some of the crashes occur when motorists veer onto cyclists on the access lanes.

— Pay close attention when riding in neighborhoods where cars might be pulling out from driveways.

Motorists

— Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol “no matter how many drinks you think you can take,” Rhoads said.

— This also applies to drugs, including marijuana or prescription medications, that can impair drivers.

— Your vehicle can be a “deadly weapon” and you should treat it as such.

— Don’t text and drive.

— Don’t tinker with your vehicle’s electronics while driving, including the music.

— Don’t drive while eating.

— Follow the rules of the road.

— Don’t drive distracted.

“Distracted driving is very hard to prove, but it plays a major role in serious collisions,” Rhoads said.

To report reckless driving dial *647 (NHP) or 311.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Review-Journal digital content producer Marvin Clemons contributed to this report.

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