Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are a serious problem in Las Vegas and throughout the state of Nevada. Indeed, according to a recent report from ABC 13 News, the rate of pedestrian deaths in Nevada rose by 24 percent in 2016, almost ranking Nevada among the top 10 states in the country for pedestrian motor vehicle fatalities. Although pedestrian accidents and deaths are spiking across the country, that does not explain why fatality rates remain so high in Las Vegas and in Nevada more generally. The rate of deadly pedestrian accidents in 2016 was at 1.105 per 100,000 population, compared with a rate of 2.25 per 100,000 population in 2015. As you can see, the number has risen dramatically.
What is to blame for the rising rates of pedestrian deaths? According to a recent article from CBS 8 News, smartphones may be playing a key role in the spiking frequencies of deadly pedestrian collisions.
The CBS 8 News article cites a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which showed 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. The report indicated that this was “the highest number in more than 20 years,” and “since 2010, pedestrian fatalities have grown at four times the rate of overall traffic deaths.” While the researchers behind the report cannot say with certainty that smartphones are a definitive cause, they do know one thing for sure: as pedestrian death rates have risen in motor vehicle collisions, the rate of smartphone use also has increased drastically.
Based on data from the Wireless Association, between 2014 and 2015 alone, the use of wireless data “more than doubled.” In all likelihood, the use of wireless data in Las Vegas will continue to increase in the coming years. The authors of the study tie this use of smartphones to distracted driving accidents. Richard Rettig, the author of the report, explained that “somebody staring at their phone for two seconds at 40 miles per hour has covered a very long distance,” and “it’s not hard to imagine a pedestrian at the wrong place, wrong time, never being seen by the driver.”
About one out of every five—or 20 percent—of pedestrian deaths happen at intersections. Most other pedestrian fatalities occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian “in road space designated for vehicles.” As such, it is possible that a pedestrian’s own distractions can also play a role in a deadly traffic collision. We know, according to Distraction.gov, that distracted driving (which often includes talking or texting on a cellphone) causes about 3,500 deaths each year. But what are the dangers of distracted walking? The GHSA report intimates that a pedestrian’s failure to keep a lookout for oncoming traffic, perhaps while texting on a smartphone or surfing the web, also may be playing a role in the rising rate of pedestrian accidents.
Another article from CBS 8 News emphasizes that Las Vegas officials are taking the issue of pedestrian accidents very seriously and are developing improvements designed to make the city safer for everyone on foot. The article emphasizes that many roads and streets in Las Vegas were designed with cars in mind—not pedestrians. Current projects involve widening roads and pedestrian pathways, installing medians, and making crossings safer.
If you or someone you love got hurt in a collision, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Las Vegas can assist with your case. Contact Ladah Law Firm to discuss your options for seeking compensation.