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October 20, 2018

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Think twice before hanging those fuzzy dice — here’s why

Image

Christopher DeVargas

Black and white dice hang from the rear-view mirror of a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 at the Super Run Car Show on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, in Henderson.

Zero Fatalities Press Kit

A press kit from NV Highway Patrol for a Zero Fatalities campaign. Launch slideshow »

The Nevada Highway Patrol has a description for that pair of fuzzy dice or air freshener hanging on your rearview mirror, and it isn't whimsical or decorative.

It's illegal.

Saying such objects create a sight obstruction that can block a driver's view of motorcyclists or other motorists, state officials have launched a public information campaign to urge people not to hang adornments from their mirrors. Doing so is illegal under state law.

Thirty motorcyclists, including moped riders, have died on Nevada roadways this year, about a 36 percent increase compared to same time last year, Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Jason Buratczuk said.

The Nevada Office of Public Safety recorded the following number of motorcycle fatalities in the state in the past six years:

2010: 48

2011: 41

2012: 43

2013: 59

2014: 63

2015: 54

Other contributing factors in motorcycle crashes are increased speeds that can confuse drivers of cars when it comes to gauging how far objects are behind them. The size of motorcycles also makes it harder to see them, officials said.

Campaign organizers want motorists to "look twice and save a life." Looking twice when switching lanes can help clear blind spots, Buratczuk said.

But the campaign isn't just aimed at drivers on four wheels.

"It goes out for the motorcyclists too," Buratczuk said. "Both motorcyclists and car drivers need to do their job sharing the road, making sure the road is safe for everybody."

No doubt, '50s hot-rodders across the state are shaking their heads. But officials say the campaign is one of several steps they're taking to reduce auto accidents and an ongoing rash of motorcycle fatalities in the valley.

Buratczuk said officials aren't planning a crackdown on objects hanging from mirrors. But if they find a motorist with an adornment, they can assess fines. The fees vary by jurisdiction.

As part of the campaign, officials sent a package of various objects to media outlets — including bandannas, air fresheners, sunglasses and, yes, fuzzy dice — along with a challenge to reporters to hang the objects on their mirrors and, while parked, see how much their view was blocked.

But it's not only decorations that might impede the view for motorists, Buratczuk said. The rearview mirror mounting base could also distract drivers.

The campaign, which runs through July 3, is funded by the Nevada Office of Public Safety, officials said. Information on its cost was not immediately available.

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