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July 22, 2014

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Officials worry pedestrian accidents could increase during holiday season

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A pedestrian safety poster featuring former mayor Oscar Goodman in 2000.

Woman hit, killed by UPS truck

KSNV coverage of auto-pedestrian collisions in the valley, including the death of a woman who died after being hit by a UPS truck, Nov. 8, 2011.

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians use a Danish offset as they cross Maryland Parkway near UNLV Monday, October 7, 2011.  A Danish offset is in the median area where the crosswalk makes an S turn, slowing pedestrians down and making them look at traffic before they cross. Launch slideshow »

Officials are so concerned about the recent rash of pedestrian accidents they held two press conferences on the topic Tuesday, one in Las Vegas and one in North Las Vegas.

And just an hour after the Metro Police event, another pedestrian was killed, bringing the string to five deaths in 11 days.

Even with the recent events, the number of pedestrian deaths has changed little in the past few years, officials said, but they worry that the trend could worsen as the holiday season approaches.

North Las Vegas Police said they have had eight fatal car accidents so far this year and just one involved a pedestrian. Last year there were 10 fatal accidents in the city.

Officials there have been using a federal grant for the past four years to do special enforcement for traffic safety, plus they participate in the state Joining Forces program for extra enforcement periods.

For the current fiscal year, the police department has $163,000 to spend on enforcement and education for traffic safety, Officer Chrissie Coon said.

Last year, officers spent 1,600 hours on traffic safety efforts and issued 1,154 driving citations, Coon said.

“But when you have a 6-year-old killed in a crosswalk, it doesn’t feel like we’re doing enough,” she said.

In the press conference, Coon and North Las Vegas Mayor Sheri Buck pled with the public to be careful.

“Hopefully this brings some awareness to all of us, as drivers and pedestrians,” Buck said.

The next round of extra enforcement is set to begin next week, with law enforcement agencies across the county focusing on seat belt use and distracted driving, Coon said.

Those areas will be especially important as the holidays approach, she said.

“People get much more distracted and impatient on the road when the holidays come,” Coon said.

Metro Police officials similarly asked the public for patience and caution while driving.

“Keep your heads up, as drivers and pedestrians,” said Sgt. Richard Strader from the fatal accident detail. “Pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

There have been 60 fatal accidents in Metro’s jurisdiction so far this year, Traffic Bureau Capt. Mark Tavarez said. Of those, 19 involved pedestrians, and in at least 15 of those cases, the pedestrians were at fault.

“The pedestrian has the responsibility to make sure the vehicles have stopped,” Strader said. “They can’t just jump out.”

But Tavarez said the motorist has responsibility as well. “It’s important that drivers everywhere expect the unexpected,” he said.

Strader agreed: “It’s everybody’s responsibility to be safe out there.”

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  1. Come on! If "authorities" were so "concerned" about pedestrian safety, they would put pressure on their respective police departments to put a halt to the reckless, dangerous and, too often, lethal driving habits so prevalent on our roadways. Tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring traffic signals. It's so common we almost take it for granted. Quit with "saturation" policing and make it a daily practice to enforce the laws. Stop the outrageous ticket "fixing" that is so boldly advertised on TV and billboards. It seems every majot thoroughfare is treated by many drivers as if it were a straightaway on the LV Motor Speedway and where are the cops? Traffic enforcement must be upped and made to be a daily priority. Enough with the lip service.

  2. "...19 involved pedestrians, and in at least 15 of those cases, the pedestrians were at fault."

    Sounds like more people need to remember to look both ways before crossing the street.

    It's the responsibility of both the pedestrians and motorists to look out for and avoid each other.

  3. At least 15 of 19 pedestrians at fault and I remember several years ago 37 of 39 pedestrians being at fault, but many people blame the drivers only.
    Those are the facts in Las Vegas.

  4. What's sad about this is that people, ie adults, HAVE to be REMINDED to be careful crossing the street!! Notwithstanding the extremely poor driving habits in Vegas, what can a motorist do when some idiot decides to cross 6 lanes of traffic against the light or in the middle of the block?? Maybe they should get "Strip Crossing Guards" for the Strip at least! Or posting HUGE signs at intersections and definitely in the middle of the block warning pedestrians NOT to cross unless it is their turn (yeah, make it simple so these morons can understand).

  5. <The LAW in Nevada is the Driver has to Stop For Pedestrians in the Crosswalk ...>

    Correct. But what about those pedestrians who do NOT cross in the cross walk? You can be going the posted speed limit, but it's hard to stop on a dime when some idiot walks in front of your car because he/she is too lazy to walk the 25ft to the intersection crosswalk. My guess 90% of the time, the idiots that do this don't drive and have no idea on how hard it is to really stop a 2000lb vehicle in a few seconds.