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2023 was one of deadliest years on Nevada roads in 2 decades

Nevada traffic fatalities in 2023 were down compared to 2022, but it still was one of the deadliest years on state roads over nearly two decades.

The 386 crash deaths in the state were down 7 percent from 2022’s 416 fatals, which makes 2023 the second-deadliest year on state roads since 2006, only behind the prior year’s total, according to state data tracked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“These numbers still are preliminary and as we get more data throughout the year, that number could rise,” said Anita Pepper, spokeswoman for Zero Fatalities. “It’s also still too high. We want to see everyone get to their destination and see everyone come home at night.”

Impairment and seeing are the leading causes of fatal crashes, as is the case each year, Pepper noted.

The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety pushed out messaging and carried out education efforts aimed at making drivers more mindful of safety, Pepper said.

Part of that messaging is urging motorists to stop distracted and impaired driving, and pushing motorists and passengers to use seat belts.

“Those types of things, hopefully people are working to do their part to keep the roads safe,” Pepper said.

Pedestrian deaths were on the rise, with 106 deaths last year, up 16 percent over 2022’s 91 fatalities.

That increase also rang true in Clark County, where 82 pedestrians were killed, up 15 percent over the 71 deaths in 2022.

That’s cause for concern for Andrew Bennett, director of Clark County’s Office of Traffic Safety.

Bennett highlighted that all data trends in the county weren’t negative, with motorcyclist and cyclist fatalities down 12 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in 2023 compared with fatalities in 2022 in Clark County.

“That is significant,” Bennett said. “That’s not just me cherry-picking the best news on here.”

Statewide motorcyclist deaths were down 26 percent and cyclist deaths dipped 20 percent between 2022 and 2023.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who champions traffic safety efforts in the Las Vegas Valley, said motorcyclists deaths being down could be because of discussions and coverage of such crashes over the years.

“I think that it is aspirational to think that had some impact, the level of attention on prior fatalities,” Naft said.

Unrestrained deaths in the state were down 23 percent, going from 86 in 2022 to 66 in 2023, but were up 5 percent in Clark County, with 41 in 2023, two more than in 2022.

Nye County, the largest county by land in Nevada, saw a dramatic 123 percent spike in fatalities, with 29 deaths last year, compared with 13 fatalities in 2022.

The state will again use joining forces campaigns to target different issues on the road, such as speeding, impaired and distracted driving, hoping to curb the rate of crashes, especially fatal instances, involving such behaviors.

As part of the program, funds are provided to 27 law enforcement agencies to do traffic safety work throughout the year. The state’s grant programs also provide support to the DUI court and a grant is funding a study out of the University of Nevada, Reno, researching speeding in school zones.

“That’s where the office of traffic safety is able to provide grants to different agencies throughout the state,” Pepper said. “With that enforcement they’re able to do some events around looking for impaired drivers and checking for distracted drivers. Those are things that we’re always doing, but we’re able to provide money so we can put more officers on the road.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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