Fatal accidents in Las Vegas on the rise

During the first three months of 2022, Nevada experienced a decrease in road traffic deaths year-over-year. This is the good news.

Now the bad news: Despite the positive trend the state is headed in, Clark County’s numbers continued to decline during the first quarter of the year.

During March, there were 70 crash-related deaths on Nevada roads, down 14 percent compared to the first three months of 2021, when 80 deaths occurred.

More realistically, Clark County is responsible for 59 of those road traffic deaths. This is a 23 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2021. Those deaths occurred in 50 fatal accidents.

One of the most notable multi-fatal accidents occurred in late January when nine people were killed in north Las Vegas in a single wreck. A speeding and idling driver caused the tragic accident when he blew through a red light exceeding 100mph. The driver, Gary Robinson, his passenger, and seven others died in a truck that was hit by Robinson’s car.

This year also saw a marked rise in motor vehicle fatalities, with 24, up 41 percent over the same time period last year.

Pedestrian deaths are also up in Clark County, with 21 deaths on southern Nevada roads, a 17 percent increase from 18 deaths in 2021 through March.

The state and county’s goal is always zero deaths, and the fact that Clark County is heading in the wrong direction has to do with the district’s director of traffic safety.

“It’s been a pretty horrible start to the year,” said Andrew Bennett, Clark County’s director of traffic safety. “We’ve had a killer nine times, and it’s heavily in those numbers. To be 22 percent higher is disappointing. This is now a three-year increase for Clark County.”

Bennett, who held the same title with the state for many years before starting his role with the county this year, said it’s up to each driver to do better.

“We’re focusing on three things we’re trying to get drivers to do,” Bennett said. “Slow down, always drive carefully and wear a seat belt. These are three behaviors that we are unfortunately seeing an increase in. … We are working with all our partners to make sure that this message gets through as well as possible, but we are also ready to respond to it and let people know that we are taking this Seriously “.

The rise in traffic deaths in Clark County is even more worrisome given that 2021 ended with 235 deaths, a 22 percent increase from 2020. Last year was the deadliest year on Nevada roads in 15 years with 382 deaths.

Last year, the county averaged about 20 deaths per month. During March of this year, Bennett said, the county was on track to match that number, but it wasn’t too late to change that trend.

“I like where the state is going, and I think we (Clark County) will start in the right direction as the summer comes, hopefully throughout the rest of the year we can normalize the numbers and go in the same direction as the state in general.”

With what is considered the “100 Deadliest Days” approaching — Memorial Day until Labor Day when summer road trips primarily occur — Bennett and other traffic safety officials will rely on education and enforcement in the hope of safer roads.

“We work every day in the county to coordinate our resources and coordinate our response,” Bennett said. We still struggle hard with recklessness and speed. There are many changes in law enforcement, education and engineering that are happening as we speak to combat these numbers.”

Contact Mick Akers at Akers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.