A New Push to Ban Right On Red Turns Could Find It's Way to Nevada Roads

No right turn on red sign next to stop light

Turning right on red may soon be something of the past

After stopping at a red light, drivers are allowed to turn right while the light is still red. Although it is legal and studies have proven that there are benefits to the law, many traffic safety officials believe it creates more opportunities for car accidents. There's a push to ban this law all around the country, including Nevada.

The dangers of right on red

Although the law is believed to help prevent traffic congestion and allow for better traffic flow, it was ultimately put in place in the 1970s to save gas during the oil crisis. According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, under NRS 484B.307, Nevada drivers can make a right turn on red if:

  • The driver comes to a complete stop.
  • The driver is in the extreme right-hand lane.
  • The driver yields to pedestrians and other moving traffic.
  • The intersection signage allows right turns on red.

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise

Not including North Las Vegas and Henderson, 46 pedestrians have been hit and killed by drivers in Nevada so far this year, according to Nevada Public Radio.

Statewide, 82 pedestrians were killed last year in Nevada, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And in many cases, those pedestrian fatalities occurred in Las Vegas. Last year, 66 pedestrians were killed in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. That's the highest pedestrian death toll in Clark County since 2017.

Why are so many fatal pedestrian accidents happening? In cases involving pedestrian red light right turn fatalities, safety officials cited two primary reasons - bad infrastructure and distracted driving.

Better roads

A few months ago in August, three pedestrians were struck and killed in the Las Vegas Valley in 3 separate crashes, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nevada knows this is a serious issue and may need to rethink infrastructure as a solution.

Local safety officials believe redesigning roads to anticipate human behavior and mistakes could reduce traffic fatalities. Possible infrastructure improvements include crosswalks closer to bus stops, or detached sidewalks, which are sidewalks separated from roads with landscaping.

Those proposals may soon become a reality. In July, commissioners in Clark County voted in favor of new road design standards. As a result, all new roads in Clark County wider than 60 feet across must have detached sidewalks. This design improves pedestrian safety by putting more space between pedestrians and cars.

Distracted drivers

Road design improvements can only do so much. Another critical piece involves changing driving habits and reducing distracted driving. All drivers should be looking for pedestrians, not looking at their phones.

Unfortunately, many drivers fail to share the road with pedestrians. Instead, according to Erin Breen, UNLV's Transportation Research Center coordinator, some drivers feel like they own the road. This mindset pushes pedestrians to avoid crosswalks, thinking they are unsafe when they are the safest place for pedestrians trying to cross the road. As a result, intersections in Nevada are now being designed with all road users in mind, including pedestrians.

Get help from an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer

Getting hit by a car can be a life-changing experience. With your injuries and recovery to focus on, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you get the compensation you're entitled to in Nevada.

The legal team at Lasso Injury Law in Las Vegas can help you every step of the way. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident to learn more about how we can help you. Schedule a free consultation at our Las Vegas office today.

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