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2015 Las Vegas Crash Map – Eric H. Woods Law Office
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Las Vegas Crash Map
Like any major city, Las Vegas, Nevada has its good points and its not so good points. One area the city, and the state in general, is trying to improve on is traffic accidents. In the last few years, there has been a bigger problem with accidents that cause serious injuries or deaths. The battle seems to go back and forth in many ways. For example, local traffic reports indicated that the number of collisions that occurred in 2015 were just under half what they were in 2013, down from 23,572 to 12,829. The number of fatalities went up, even after fewer had occurred in 2014. The jump from 2014 to 2015 went from 91 to 121. The driver was killed in these accidents 32 times in 2015, which represented a 52% increase over the 24 drivers killed in 2013. Pedestrian deaths due to crashes seemed to be decreasing when the number of fatalities fell to 34 in 2014 from 46 in 2013, however 2015 saw those totals on the rise again, with 49 people losing their lives while traveling on foot.
Starting 2016 on the Wrong Foot
While there is always a hope for something better, 2016 started off bleakly for pedestrians in Nevada. News 3 in Las Vegas reported on March 3rd that there were already 19 pedestrians killed in barely over two months of the year, with 12 of those deaths happening in Clark County. Some of the reasons for the problems include the lack of safe crosswalks spaced at reasonable intervals, and the high speeds that drivers travel at. It was also noted that drivers are not solely responsible for pedestrian deaths. Cell phone use is a big problem for both. Whether a person is driving or crossing a street as a pedestrian, they need to watch the road and not their phone.
Zero Fatalities Campaign
Because the problem has become so serious, several agencies are working together on a revised safety campaign that looks to improve streets, enforce traffic laws, and educate motorists and pedestrians on how to stay safe on the road. Those contributing include:
- Clark County – Spending $22 million on pedestrian bridges, signals, bike lanes, bus turnouts and other improvements
- Regional Transportation Commission – $7.9 million through 2016 on improving bus shelters and seeing that over 500 new shelters are located at least five feet from the curb
- The City of Las Vegas — Spending $44.5 million on improving downtown streets, including completely making over Main Street
- Henderson– Spending $15.5 million on street improvements
The Spaghetti Bowl Problem
One of the most popular freeway interchanges in the Las Vegas area is known as the Spaghetti Bowl. The interchange connects Interstate 15, Interstate 515, U.S. Route 93, and U.S. Route 95. Martin Luther King Boulevard has a service exchange in the middle of the bowl as well. The Spaghetti Bowl was originally completed in 1968, and updated in 1999-2000. Problems resurfaced in May 2015 after a strong earthquake hit in Caliente, Nevada north of Las Vegas. The Nevada Highway Patrol and Nevada DOT worked together to limit the amount of time the apparent damage to the southbound ramp on U.S. 95, and Interstate 15 and determined that there was not damage to the structure and reopened the ramp on the same day.
Now, the Spaghetti Bowl is being updated in a different way. On April 7, 2016 Project Neon was launched to overhaul the communication system on the interchange, and is not expected to be completed until 2019 when 50 gantries and stadium size information signs will communicate real time information about accidents, detours, and other restrictions. In the meantime, however, such significant work on such a popular transportation source may be taking its toll on the other roads in the area, and could be leaving both drivers and pedestrians confused as many of their tried and true routes are not available.
The Speed Factor
One of the explanations given for the high level of traffic accidents and fatalities that has been given is that people are driving on the roads at high speeds. While going faster does increase the likelihood of getting into an accident, and often contributes to the severity of injuries, speeding is actually contributing less to Las Vegas accidents than it has in earlier years. In 2015, Las Vegas police cited excessive speed as a reason for fatal accidents just nine times from the start of the year until December 23. That’s less than half of the 20 times excessive speed was given as the main reason for a traffic fatality in 2014, and still less than 2013, where speed was blamed in 15 cases.
The drop in speed related traffic fatalities could indicate a number of things. More drivers may be taking care to not drive too fast, or other factors beside speed may be coming into play to the point where going too fast is still a problem, just not the primary problem. Part of the new safety initiative is calling for current speed limits to be reduced in some areas which would help drivers improve their reaction time and keep better control of their vehicle.
Role of Impaired Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol also seems to be less of a factor than it was a couple of years ago. The Las Vegas Police Department arrested 5,726 people on DUI charges through December 23rd in 2013, this number fell by more than a thousand in 2014, to 4,586 and dropped even further to 4,241 in 2015. The number of DUI related fatalities also dropped from 2013, when 33 were reported, and they dropped to 25 and 26 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only way drivers become impaired. It’s more difficult to determine whether a person has gotten involved in an accident because they were distracted by a cell phone, were too sleepy when driving, or whether their own worries and thoughts made it difficult to fully concentrate on driving. In 2015, failure to yield right of way was cited as the primary reason for traffic fatalities 32 times — more than triple the number from the previous year. Failure to maintain a lane more than doubled as well, climbing from 9 instances in 2014 to 19 in 2015.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Whether you are a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian there are several things that can be done that will either reduce the likelihood of being involved in an accident or all, or help you escape serious injury or death if you are. One of the biggest ways to accomplish this is by wearing a seat belt. In 2013, not wearing a seat belt contributed to 17 fatalities in Las Vegas. The number rose to 19 in 2014 before dropping sharply in 2015 all the way down to 5.
Pedestrians have road rules to follow as well, and not following those rules can prove to be fatal. In 2015, 38 pedestrians were killed due to pedestrian errors, such as not crossing at the intersection or against the light. Pedestrians enter into traffic when they are not fully prepared to do so, such as when they are looking at their phone or are under the influence of alcohol. These errors were up considerably from the previous year, when pedestrian error was presented as the main reason for fatalities in 23 cases.
Aside from buckling up and driving or walking sober and with your full attention, people can help keep themselves safe when they are a passenger by reminding drivers that using cell phones or becoming emerged in a distraction while driving is dangerous. If an “important” call or text is expected during a road trip, passengers can even offer to monitor the driver’s phone to help keep them from submitting to temptation.
With public service announcements, better communication about driving hazards and detours, and improvements to road signs and crosswalks, Las Vegas and other agencies across Nevada are taking steps that will hopefully result a better understanding of the road and each person’s responsibility toward their own safety and the safety of others around them.
After a Crash
If you have been in a car accident, it is important to take care of yourself and try to recover as much as possible. The next most important thing is to get to the bottom of why an accident happened and hold the appropriate people accountable by consulting with a personal injury attorney. If a loved one has died in a crash, it is up to those closest to the victim to seek retribution with a wrongful death lawsuit.
Take a Stand and Make Your Voice Heard
What is needed in Las Vegas is a loud and strong campaign of traffic safety to motorists and pedestrians alike. Additional safety features such as lights, signals, signs and flashing crosswalks would go a long way in maximizing motorist and pedestrian safety on the roads and in crosswalks. Make your voice heard by assisting the local government or a non-profit like ePEDemic.org. In order to drive change, the community needs to get involved, share their stories and outrage and push for change.
High Accident Areas
I-15 NB Near E Sahara – 150 Accidents
I-15 at Tropicana Ave – 70 Accidents
Flamingo Rd at Las Vegas Blvd – 70 Accidents
W Cheyenne Ave at N Martin Luther King Blvd – 46 Accidents