Should students be more cautious on Las Vegas roadways?

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The I-15 heading South bound underneath Tropicana Ave. Photo by Jimmy Romo

Since the 1980s, Las Vegas has seen a noticeable explosion in population. However, as a result of rapidly rising population rates, it has led to more congested roadways and an increase in traffic-related car crashes.

Today, the prevalence of car crashes and traffic-related deaths has sparked a great amount of concern around the safety of drivers on Las Vegas roadways. The recent deadly North Las Vegas crash that killed nine people, seven of the same family, has highlighted the dangers of driving in recent years.

With car crashes increasing in Las Vegas, should students exercise additional caution, and just what can students do to be safe on the road?

“I think everyone (students included) should drive with more caution,” said Bridget Podlesni, a freshman hospitality management major at UNLV.

“Sometimes car crashes are inevitable,” Podlesni continued. “I think we as a society need to do a better job of being more understanding of student drivers.”

Podlesni further expanded on the fact that drivers here in Las Vegas need to be vigilant at all times on the roadways and invest their full attention toward all elements of the driving experience. The lack of attention and vigilance on roadways have led to a shockingly sharp increase in car crashes and traffic-related incidents.

According to a 2016 report compiled by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), a total of 2,325 injuries have been reported on the Interstate-15, making it the focal point of traffic-related injuries in the Las Vegas valley. The influx of people moving to Las Vegas and the limited capacity of space in the city has created a congestion problem ripe for car crashes.

Although a rapid influx of people moving to Las Vegas has certainly contributed to car accidents in Las Vegas, it is usually prefaced by Las Vegas’s predominant source of accident-related death or injury: speeding. 

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, speeding is listed as the leading cause of car crashes in Nevada. Typically, speeding is induced in accordance with substance use. 

In fact, the Nevada Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) found that from 2017-2018, on average, 55.23% of all fatal car crashes involved some substance use and of non-fatal car crashes, 54.51% were caused by substance abuse. With this noticeable trend identified, as substance use continues to grow within Las Vegas, the proportional rate of car crashes will continue to compound at a stable rate.

With such a predicament, students, or drivers in general, should exercise the highest level of caution when driving around Las Vegas, especially on the interstate. Always keep a safe distance away from the car in front of you and make sure that you can always see their bumper. Before leaving your residence, ensure that your tail lights and blinkers are in functional condition. 

Additionally, always keep your eyes on the road. The text you just got or that email you just received can wait. Communicate with other drivers in the form of the horn or the blinkers to inform them of your intentions. Make sure to always signal for at least five seconds before merging into the desired lane.

As accident rates continue to grow in Las Vegas, it is absolutely imperative to always stay attentive of one’s surroundings and invest one’s whole attention to the road.

By ensuring the proper procedures for operating your vehicle, we as a city can ensure the highest level of safety, not only for ourselves but for everyone.

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