LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– As days grow shorter from Daylight Savings in Southern Nevada, the Dusk 2 Dawn campaign kicked off Friday with hopes of bringing awareness to worsening pedestrian collisions and fatalities in Nevada.
The growing problem is grieved by April Stewart every day. In November 2015, her 16-year-old daughter, Mary Lily, was hit and killed while walking in a marked crosswalk during daylight savings. She said the teen was returning from playing at the park with friends.
“She crossed six lanes of traffic and was hit less than a yard from the curb,” Stewart said outside a Terrible’s gas station off Russell and I-15 Friday morning. “He was going 41 miles per hour. He was not speeding. He didn’t see her.”
Year to year, officials claim pedestrian collisions and fatalities have been growing. The most recent statistics from Las Vegas Metro police show pedestrian collisions are up by nearly 100 incidents in 2022 compared to the entire year of 2021, which was 553.
Erin Breen, director of the Road Equity Alliance Project at UNLV, says 51 pedestrians have died in Clark County from January to September. A total list of October fatalities, released next week, is expected to raise that number to nearly 60, she said.
This number already topped that of 2019, and is ahead of the total year-to-date numbers for 2020 and 2021.
“In the state of Nevada, we were recently ranked tenth worse for pedestrian fatalities in the nation,” Breen said in a Terrible’s parking lot, referencing a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
But, as night comes sooner to the Las Vegas valley, it’s becoming more dangerous for those walking or biking on Nevada roads. Nearly 75 percent of all pedestrian collisions occur between dusk to dawn, according to Breen.
Additionally, Robert Hutchinson, community liaison officer for the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition, said that eleven bicyclists without means to a motor vehicle died in Clark County so far this year.
“It’s very unfair,” Hutchinson said. “When we originally were building out the city, the infrastructure wasn’t built around [walking or biking]. It was built around getting to the strip, basically, with vehicles, not some of the suburbs or areas that aren’t developed correctly.”
As December approaches, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said it’s historically the deadliest month for Southern Nevada pedestrians, as to why, he points to driving habits made during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You tended to have a lot of people feeling like they could drive faster. There weren’t a lot of people around, but yet, now that people are clearly back on our roads, they haven’t re-adjusted their driving patterns,” Naft said. “Then the age-old problem here in Southern Nevada: we have drivers from all over the world that come here, so you have a lot of conflicting styles [of driving].”
Though Congresswoman Dina Titus said Nevada has $543.8 million coming its way in fiscal year 2023 to improve safety on highways and roads from the multiple federal bills and acts, she acknowledges the hotspot for pedestrian collisions is in the Las Vegas Valley. Roughly 91 percent of all collisions in the state happen in Clark County.
All officials who spoke at Friday’s campaign kickoff recommend pedestrians and bicyclists wear reflective clothing at night and drivers should always be alert and aware on the road.
“Please don’t make another mother have a police officer come to the door instead of your teenager coming home,” Stewart said.
Dusk2Dawn campaign material can be seen at many Terrible’s gas station pumps, mini marts, and nearby bus stops beginning Monday. More information about the campaign can be found on its website.