As Clark County Traffic Fatalities Rise, Nevada Law Enforcement Joins Forces for “Click it or Ticket”

As we enter the final weeks of 2022, Clark County continues to see a surge in traffic fatalities, despite this number trending lower statewide. Though October, Las Vegas and the surrounding Henderson area saw 201 traffic-related deaths and 186 fatal crashes. In comparison to the first ten months of 2021, the death total is five percent higher, and the occurrence of these crashes is three percent more from the previous year.  On the other hand, statewide data shows that crash deaths are down three percent year-over-year through October, with 321 deaths in 2021 and 312 deaths this year.

In addition to car accident deaths, deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians are also up in Southern Nevada, with bike deaths up 175 percent through October with eleven through October; while at this same time last year there were only four deaths.  This number does not even include the death of two pedestrians near the UNLV campus on November 4th. The coordinator of the Traffic Safety Coalition at UNLV, Erin Breen, says that bicycle fatalities are the highest she can remember in her 26 years working in Las Vegas transportation, and she states that the official number is the highest Clark County has seen in decades, and the year is not yet over.

Breen suggests the following safety tips when biking in the Las Vegas area:

  • Bicyclists should always ride in the furthermost right lane.
  • Wear a helmet and put flashers or electrodes on bikes and add side mirrors to helmets if possible.
  • At night, when prudent, walk your bike at intersections.
  • Do not ride your bike on sidewalks— drivers will not expect to see a biker on the sidewalk and will thus be less likely to see you if you attempt to cross or get back on the road
  • If there is no option but to ride on the side walk, ride in the same direction as traffic so that you are more visible.
  • Be extra cautious in residential areas where drivers are entering and exiting driveways. Drivers are less likely to expect a bicyclist there, so be as visible as possible.

In addition to the bike fatalities, there have been 55 pedestrian fatalities, an increase from the 51 last year at this time. This is an eight percent increase, and Breen says the majority of these pedestrians lose their life because they cross in an area that is not marked for pedestrians. Another vulnerable group that saw traffic deaths were motorcyclists, and there were 49 total deaths in the first ten months of 2021, the same total as 2021. [1]

Nevada Law Enforcement Officials are working hard to mitigate all types of traffic crashes, especially fatal ones. This is done through education, and PSAs. Another way is through targeted enforcement of speed and seatbelts

The “Click it or Ticket” Campaign and Seatbelt Safety

The “Click it or Ticket” program is one of the targeted enforcement campaigns that Nevada Law Enforcement has done over the past few years. Of the 315 traffic fatalities in Nevada this year, 67 of those were unrestrained motorists. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the number of unrestrained motor vehicle riders on the road, and educate the public about the significance of using a seatbelt. [2]

Talking about seatbelts may sound trivial, but not only do they extremely improve your odds of surviving an accident, it is the law in Nevada. However, it is important to understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt extends beyond the means of not getting a ticket. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you can be thrown out of the car or into a rapidly opening airbag which can seriously injure or kill you. In 2020, fifty-eight percent of those killed in the nighttime were unrestrained nationally. However, by buckling up when sitting in the front seat, you reduce your chance of fatal injury by forty-five percent and moderate to critical injury by fifty percent. Some fail to see the need of wearing a seatbelt when an airbag is equipped in a car; however, airbags are designed to work with the car’s seatbelt, and neither can work effectively without the other. This means that not wearing your seatbelt makes the airbag system virtually ineffective.

In addition to wearing a seatbelt, it is important that they are secured and worn properly so that they can work as they are intended. The shoulder belt should be away from your neck, but still on your shoulder and across your chest. The lap belt should be secure below the stomach and snug across your hip and pelvic bone. The seatbelt should never go under your arm or behind your back, and the lap belt should never be on top of your stomach, even if you are pregnant. If you are driving a new car, ensure that seatbelts are adjusted for the height and dimensions of the person and if you have any special circumstances, such a being pregnant, ask the car dealer or vehicle manufacturer if there are any seatbelt extenders or adjustments that can be added.

[1] https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/news-columns/road-warrior/fatal-crashes-still-trending-above-2021-in-clark-county-2676043/

[2] https://www.2news.com/news/local/nevada-law-enforcement-joining-forces-in-seatbelt-enforcement-campaign/article_33cc4e48-648e-11ed-85e0-8b0ebb04fb52.html

[3] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts

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