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It’s time to talk to teens about safe driving as summer arrives

Updated June 10, 2019 - 7:40 am

Though crash-related deaths are down 17 percent statewide through May, motorists should still exercise caution behind the wheel.

There were 108 deaths on Nevada roadways through May, down from the 130 fatalities this time last year, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. In addition, deaths of unrestrained passengers are down 62 percent so far this year, falling from 34 in 2018 to 13 this year.

On the other hand, there’s been a 21 percent increase in pedestrian deaths this year, jumping from 29 at this time last year to 35 through May.

With Memorial Day marking the start of the 100 deadliest days of the year for roadway fatalities — especially for teen drivers who are out of school for summer break — valley motorists and pedestrians are urged to stay alert.

“Our office is encouraged with the decrease in occupant fatalities year to date, but remains focused despite this downward trend,” said Andrew Bennett, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. “Unfortunately, the most vulnerable of road users have seen the largest increase in fatalities so far this year. Nevadans can expect to see an increase in enforcement and education throughout the summer.”

In the last five years, nearly 3,500 people across the country were killed in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to AAA.

Data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed the three most common factors that contribute to the increase in teen crashes during the summer months:

Speed: 28 percent of teen crashes involve speeding.

Impaired driving: 17 percent of teen drivers test positive for alcohol in fatal crashes.

Distracted driving: 60 percent of teen crashes involve distraction.

Parents and guardians play the biggest role in curbing some of these dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.

“As an advocate for safe roads, AAA wants parents and guardians to be concerned about scary, but true, teen driving statistics,” said Sergio Avila, a spokesperson for AAA Nevada. “Through education, training and parental involvement, we can help young drivers become better and safer drivers. This, in turn, can help make the roads safer for everyone.”

Parents and guardians are being urged to:

Lead by example and minimize their own risky behavior when driving.

Talk with teens about the dangers of speeding.

Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

“It’s important for parents and teens to discuss expectations and the laws regarding teen driving,” Bennett said. “Nevada’s graduated driver’s license laws apply year-round. Minors under the age of 18 are not permitted to drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless driving to or from a scheduled event. Young drivers who are 16 or 17 are not allowed to drive with passengers under the age of 18 except for immediate family members for the first six months from when the license is issued.”

F Street road improvement

A two-week long road work project that began last week in downtown Las Vegas will continue this week.

Improvements being made on F Street between the D Street connector and McWilliams Avenue features work hours from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

F Street between the D Street connector and McWilliams Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Southbound traffic on the D Street connector will be reduced to one travel lane at F Street. D Street and H Street are recommended as the best alternate routes for northbound and southbound travel, according to Las Vegas officials.

The improvements include median island modifications, construction of new median islands, decorative fence installation and a stone entry sign on the north and south sides of the U.S. Highway 95 bridge structure.

“These improvements will help visitors safely view the striking murals at the F Street overpass and beautify this area that is part of historic west Las Vegas,” said Ward 5 City Councilman Cedric Crear.

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