Las Vegas city officials are taking measures to make the city’s roads safer for motorists and pedestrians. This effort is long overdue as fatalities and serious injury stats have grown in recent years.
In 2022, Clark County appointed Andrew Bennett as director of the newly created Office of Traffic Safety. This new office is evidence of the steps that Las Vegas is taking to improve safety conditions on Clark Country roadways.
In a statement made earlier this year, Bennett addressed these public safety concerns. He said, “There should be a reasonable expectation that you can get from point A to point B safely. We’ll always want people to be vigilant and focus on their safety because sometimes you’re the only one watching out for yourself. But if we can continue to build a system where it’s inherently safer, that’s where we will start reducing fatalities.”
Before this new position, Bennet worked for the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety for five years, where he was responsible for the Zero Fatalities program. The Zero Fatalities initiative remains at the forefront of Bennet’s goals for Las Vegas.
With new safety metrics established, it will be up to the new Office of Traffic Safety and motorists within Clark County to make the necessary changes for Las Vegas to build and maintain safe roadways.
The Importance of Las Vegas Road Safety
Las Vegas safety improvements to the roads and byways are an immediate need for. According to the preliminary data, over 190 people were killed in fatal wrecks within Clark County alone in 2021, making 2021 the most deadly year since 2007. Motorists were not the only ones in danger of fatal accidents, as 61 pedestrians died in Clark County in the same year. There has been a steady increase in pedestrian casualties for three years running. Additionally, between 2015 and 2019, Clark County experienced an astounding 1,000+ fatalities on county-owned roads.
According to Bennett, the spike in 2021 numbers could be a result of poor, dangerous driving habits developed during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. With fewer cars on the road, some drivers drove more recklessly, which led to a drastic increase in single-vehicle wrecks. With roads back to expected capacity but dangerous motorist tendencies persisting, disaster struck. That is why Las Vegas road safety is increasingly important.
Types of Safety Hazards on Vegas Roads
Las Vegas presents unique dangers to motorists and pedestrians. With all the events that take place on the Las Vegas strip and with the strip’s layout, it’s no wonder hundreds of car accidents take place each year. In Las Vegas, particularly on the strip, pedestrians are at a higher risk of injury due to the number of pedestrians and motorists.
Boulder Highway has created a striking problem for Nevada safety officials. Some call the area of Boulder Highway between Nellis Boulevard and the Flamingo Road intersection the “trifecta of doom.” The two major streets that bisect can cause confusion over which drivers have the right of way. Some drivers drive dangerously fast through this intersection and pose a threat to themselves and other vehicles and pedestrians.
Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard
Another dangerous intersection is where Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard intersect. Back in 2018, 54 recorded Las Vegas car accidents took place there, averaging one per week. The intersection’s initial design wasn’t meant to handle the amount of traffic it gets—a key reason for these accidents.
The Deadly Interstate 15
This 181-mile section between California and Las Vegas is the most deadly stretch of road in the U.S. over the last 10 years. In more than 800 accidents on this stretch of road, over 1,000 people have died as a result of excessive speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and failure to wear seat belts.
3 Ways Las Vegas Is Focused on Road Safety
When the new Office of Traffic Safety formed, its leaders specified attainable goals rather than just pushing “zero fatalities” as a safety tagline. Michael Naft, the driving force behind the creation of the Office of Traffic Safety, has also recognized the need for greater safety measures and educational programs to improve the overall safety of Las Vegas roads.
“What’s really captured my attention about this issue is that it’s one of few issues that truly is in our control,” Naft said. “It’s a combination of human behavior, engineering, how we educate and inform our community, and how we enforce the rules and the policies that are in place. I really do believe that it’s an issue that we can make a difference on.”
Educational measures are one of the Office of Traffic Safety’s main focuses, particularly concerning the dangers of impaired driving. The Office of Traffic Safety is putting programs in place to teach how impaired driving puts the lives of other drivers and pedestrians at risk.
Another focus of the Office of Traffic Safety is how engineering efforts can improve Las Vegas road conditions and decrease the total number of annual fatal collisions. The Office of Traffic Safety will work with the Comprehensive Engineering department, the Planning and Public Works department, the Coroner’s Office, and the University Medical Center to attain this goal.
Finally, the carefully crafted safety plan will target county-owned roads and benefit the region as a whole. The plan will examine the threats at the hyperlocal corridor or intersectional level to find key contributing factors in fatal accidents and identify ways to eliminate these dangers.
County officials’ current short-term goal is to eliminate fatalities in an effort to improve road safety. “When someone that’s in my position has that ability to see that it’s so much more than just a number—it’s a life that was lost—I’m sticking with zero,” Bennet said, further stressing the importance of eliminating these gut-wrenching situations.
What Do I Do if I’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident in Vegas?
Despite current efforts to address Las Vegas road safety, accidents still occur regularly. Whether it’s a bicycle accident on the Strip, a collision with a semi-truck on I-15, or a motorcycle crash downtown, Las Vegas road conditions can leave families devastated with serious injuries or the loss of a loved one. In these instances, victims and their families must receive the justice they deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Las Vegas, finding an understanding car accident attorney with the necessary experience needed to handle these cases is vital. At SJW Injury Attorneys, we’ve helped countless victims and their families navigate the complexities of injury law following a harrowing accident. With expertise in car accident-related cases, our team at SJW Injury Attorneys is ready to assist to ease the burdens car accident victims face.