Grant aims to make roads safer for pedestrians

Southern Nevada law enforcement is teaming with University Medical Center to create safer roads for pedestrians in the valley.

The multi-agency campaign is funded by the Lookout for Pedestrian Safety and Education grant to the North Las Vegas Police Department.

The goal of the $48,000 grant is to educate drivers, pedestrians and children to pay attention to their surroundings while driving or walking.

There was an 82 percent increase in pedestrian accidents from 2011 to 2012, all of which were preventable, according to Metropolitan Police officer Todd Raybuck.

“With the new year, it’s time for resolution,” Raybuck said. “We need to make our community safer this year.”

UMC treated 245 pedestrian-involved accidents in 2012; 40 of them involved children, according to UMC Trama doctor Nicole Ingalls.

With 315,000 students returning to school Monday, authorities warn drivers they will be watched with careful eyes.

“Children emulate their parents. What they see is what they do,” said officer Darnell Couthen of the Clark County School District. “Parents need to reinforce safety.”

Law enforcement suggest the following tips for safe driving:

■ Drive slow, be alert and be patient. Children are harder to see behind cars and act unexpectedly.

■ Stop for buses picking up or dropping off students. Both sides of traffic must stop if there is no physical median.

■ Avoid using the phone even if it is hands-free during residential areas and school zones.

■ Teach children to remove headphones and make eye contact with drivers while crossing the street.

“It’s a responsibility of life and death,” Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixson said. “It must be taken seriously.”

Contact reporter Caitlyn Belcher at cbelcher@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0264.

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