Pedestrian accidents will most likely rise in Las Vegas during the fall and winter months
According to Smart Growth America's Dangerous by Design 2019 report, there were 601 pedestrian fatalities across Nevada from 2008-2017. This has given the Silver State an average annual pedestrian fatality rate of 2.12 per 100,000 people and a ranking of 11 in the top 20 most dangerous states for walking.
It should be of no surprise that the majority of Nevada's pedestrian fatalities occur in Clark County, particularly in Las Vegas. In 2017 alone, approximately 78 pedestrians were killed in crashes across Clark County — marking the highest number of pedestrian deaths recorded in a single year. In 2018, however, that number dropped to 63.
What are the leading risk factors for pedestrian fatalities in Clark County and Las Vegas?
According to an article in the Nevada Current, we are now in midst of the deadliest time of year for pedestrians. After setting our clocks back one hour for fall daylight saving time, the days have become significantly shorter.
While the Las Vegas strip may be brightly illuminated at all hours, other parts of Las Vegas and Clark County are not. According to 2017 statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 75 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur in dark conditions. During the fall months, 30 percent occur between 6-9 p.m. During the winter months, 35 percent occur within the same time frame.
During the fall and winter months, visibility is often a factor in pedestrian accidents. According to the National Safety Council, drivers can only see up to 250 feet when using normal headlights. Once high beams are turned on, the average visibility range increases to 500 feet. Nighttime driving can be especially problematic for drivers ages 60 and older, who are at risk of developing cataracts and other degenerative eye diseases.
How does roadway infrastructure play a role in pedestrian accidents?
According to the Nevada Current article, pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur in lower-income areas, such as communities located in eastern Las Vegas. The streets and roadways aren't designed to accommodate pedestrians, but are rather meant for fast-moving vehicular traffic.
According to the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), the eastern areas of Las Vegas have a disproportionately high rate of pedestrian accidents. This is primarily due to:
- More residents who don't own cars - 17.5 percent of residents in the Paradise township and 16.8 percent in eastern Las Vegas
- Long school commutes - longest average time is 18.8 minutes
- Greater walking distances
Some other high-risk areas that have been identified by the Nevada Department of Transportation and RTC include these busy transit routes:
- Flamingo Road in Paradise
- Sahara Avenue
- Charleston Boulevard
- Lake Mead Boulevard
- Boulder Highway
- Durango Drive
- Las Vegas Boulevard
- Maryland Parkway
- Reno Avenue
Many of these roadways are designed primarily for cars. The wide lanes, large intersections, high speed limits, and lack of crosswalks and buffered sidewalks make these areas dangerous for walkers.
According to Erin Breen, the coordinator of the UNLV Traffic Safety Coalition, working-class and low-income residents are the most at risk of being struck during their daily commutes.
“When people get off the bus to try to make their connection the last thing that they are thinking about is ‘I’m going to lose my life.’ What they’re thinking about is ‘I’m going to lose my job if I don’t catch that bus,’” said Breen.
How are Las Vegas city officials tackling this problem?
In order to mitigate the dangers pedestrians face each day, the City of Las Vegas is starting to make upgrades to Charleston Boulevard (one of Las Vegas's oldest roads). These include widening the sidewalks, installing shade trees, installing crosswalks with flashing LED traffic signals, and making improvements to existing crosswalks.
According to Gena Kendall, the city's traffic engineer, cars have historically been a higher priority but now that is changing.
"We still have a lot of infrastructure that we need to update and improve for all road users, but the philosophy now throughout the entire valley is complete street and multi-mobile and pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly,” said Kendall.
If you or a loved one was injured by a driver while walking in Las Vegas, don't hesitate to take legal action. Pedestrians are more likely than drivers to sustain serious and life-threatening injuries an accident. The cost of medical care and time away from work can be financially devastating. Moreover, the emotional stress and trauma caused by a negligent driver can result in prolonged pain and suffering.
That's why you need a strong legal advocate in your corner. The legal team at Lasso Injury Law LLC is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured Las Vegas pedestrians. We can help you build a solid legal claim and maximize your compensation. To learn more, contact us online today and schedule your free consultation.