Douglas sees increase in traffic fatalities |

Douglas sees increase in traffic fatalities

Nine crashes in Douglas County during 2017 claimed 11 lives, according to information released by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

A 12th victim died during the year of injuries sustained in a crash at the end of 2016.

Douglas was one of four Nevada counties to see an increase in the death toll on its highways during the year. Nine people died in the same number of crashes in Lyon County during the year. Esmeralda and Elko counties also saw increases.

Two alcohol-related crashes resulted in three deaths in Douglas during the year.

Preliminary data shows that 303 traffic fatalities occurred on Nevada roads in 2017, down from approximately 330 deaths the previous year.

The decline in traffic fatalities marks the first time since 2013 that traffic fatalities were fewer than the previous year in Nevada. Total year-end traffic deaths could be adjusted based on ongoing traffic crash investigations.

While overall traffic fatalities declined, the number of pedestrian deaths jumped from 80 pedestrian fatalities in 2016 to 99 in 2017. Douglas County had two pedestrians killed during 2017 compared to none in 2016.

Bicyclist deaths also rose from six in 2016 to nine in 2017. The largest spike in pedestrian deaths occurred in Clark County, where 78 pedestrians lost their life in 2017, 21 more than in 2016.

“Every death on Nevada roads is a tragedy, and a loved one who will not be coming home,” Nevada Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon said in a press release. “Ultimately, our goal is zero fatalities on Nevada roads. Transportation and safety agencies across Nevada will continue working every day to save lives on Nevada roads, but we also remind every driver, every pedestrian, every bicyclist and motorcyclist to always share the road.”

NDOT says it dedicates approximately $10 million every year to pedestrian safety projects on state roads.

To help save lives, traffic safety partners across the state use focused strategies in six emphasis areas: pedestrian, intersection, seatbelt and motorcycle safety, as well as reducing impaired driving and limiting lane departure crashes by focusing on distracted driving.

“We focus on the driving behaviors and issues that lead to the most deaths and injuries on Nevada roads,” NDOT Chief Traffic Safety Engineer Ken Mammen said in the press release. “Our goal is cutting the yearly traffic fatality average in half by 2030, with the ultimate goal of zero fatalities on Nevada roads. And we do that through the enforcement, engineering, emergency medical response and public education strategies defined in our Nevada Strategic Highway Safety Plan.”

Through the Nevada Department of Public Safety Joining Forces program’s heightened enforcement campaigns, Nevada law enforcement officers in 2017 issued approximately 73,000 citations to help reduce impaired, unbuckled, distracted or otherwise unsafe driving.

“We work every day to help everyone be safe on the road,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Gordon said in the press release. “But ultimately, we know that reaching zero fatalities relies on each and every person on the road, and we want to remind everyone to always be safe on Nevada roads.”

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