2013 has started as a busier than normal year for first responders in Clark County. Police, fire department, ambulance drivers, and unfortunately the coroner have been kept busy by the increased number of accidents and fatalities on Clark County roads since January 1. Statistics provided by the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in their weekly report, show a marked increase in year-to-date traffic accident and fatality numbers compared to the same time period in 2012.
A review of the reported statistics indicates that car accidents of all types are up over 15% for Clark County, and fatal accidents are up almost 17%. Pedestrian fatalities are up 30%. All fatalities due to traffic accidents in Clark County are up 24%. Interestingly, one of the few bright spots on the report shows that alcohol related crashes and fatalities are down almost 65% from last year.
While the specific reasons for these increases are unknown, here is what we do know:
- Las Vegas is a 24 hour city. That in itself increases the risks, since more drivers are on the roads during nighttime hours than many other cities our size.
- Las Vegas is a 24 hour alcohol town. There is no closing time for a bar in Las Vegas, which contrasts with our other nearest big city neighbors: Phoenix and Los Angeles. Bars close in these cities at 2 or 3 AM.
- Higher shift work in Las Vegas contributes to sleep deprived driving, which can be a major factor in causing accidents.
While none of the above reasons explain the increases in these statistics from year to year, these are contributing factors to problems on the road in Las Vegas. It certainly pays to be alert behind the wheel, and to drive defensively.