Las Vegas Sun

February 7, 2023

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Report: Fatal traffic crashes increase in Nevada

Fatal Two-Vehicle Crash in Construction Zone

Christopher DeVargas

LVMPD officers investigate the scene of a deadly two-vehicle crash in a construction zone at the intersection of Silverado Ranch Boulevard and Crisman Ridge Street Monday Dec. 20, 2021.

Fatal traffic crashes in Clark County and across Nevada were up in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to a new state report.

Statewide, there were 357 deadly crashes last year that accounted for 382 deaths, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety.

That’s a 19% increase from 300 deadly crashes and a 17.9% increase from 324 deaths in 2020, the report released Friday said.

“To see 382 lives lost on a piece of paper was something that I’ve never seen before in my time in traffic safety,” Nevada Office of Traffic Safety spokesman Andrew Bennett said. “You try to look through this report and find something that’s positive, but it’s disappointing, to say the least.”

In Clark County, there were 224 fatal crashes last year, up 24% from 180 reported in 2020. Fatalities were up nearly 22%, from 193 in 2020 to 235 last year, the report said.

Nevada has only surpassed the 2021 death count three times — 395 in 2004, 427 in 2005 and a record 431 in 2006.

The numbers in the report are preliminary and won’t be finalized until later, Bennett said.

One silver lining in the report was a decrease in deaths related to people not wearing seat belts, down from 80 in 2020 to 74 last year.

Clark County also saw a slight drop in the number of deaths involving unrestrained passengers, from 34 to 32.

Clark County, which accounts for about two-thirds of the state’s population, recorded 66 of the state’s 85 pedestrian fatalities last year. It also led the state in motorcycle crash deaths — 57 last year compared to 38 in 2020.

Clark County also had five of the states seven bicycle deaths and an additional five deaths in the “other” category, which covers things such as scooters, mopeds and ATVs, the report said.

Rural counties, such as neighboring Nye County, generally saw increases in fatal crashes.

In Nye, 17 wrecks involving 24 related fatalities were reported last year, up from 12 and 14, respectively, in 2020.

Washoe County, Nevada’s second-largest population center, saw a 16% drop in fatal crashes, from 50 to 42, and a 17% decrease in deaths, from 51 to 42, the report said.