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Traffic related deaths down in Nye County; up slightly in state

A report released by the Nevada Departments of Transportation and Public Safety shows that fatal crashes in the county are down, but up slightly statewide.

Preliminary data revealed that in Nye County there were seven fatalities in seven fatal crashes on roadways. That was a 30 percent decrease from 2015’s total of 11 fatalities occurring in 10 fatal-involved crashes.

In nearby Esmeralda County, there was just a single fatal crash, which involved three casualties, which occurred Dec. 28 on U.S. Highway 95. The number was down from 2015’s total of four fatal crashes, resulting in five deaths.

Statewide, there were 302 fatal-involved crashes, resulting in 327 traffic fatalities on Nevada roads in 2016. The total number was one death more than 2015’s total of 326, which occurred in 297 fatal-involved crashes.

“Every death on Nevada roads is a tragedy, and a loved one who will not be coming home,” said Rudy Malfabon, Nevada Department of Transportation director. “When each person thinks about themselves and their family, the only acceptable traffic safety goal is zero fatalities. That’s why, for our state, there is no other acceptable goal than zero fatalities. Transportation and safety agencies across Nevada will continue working every day to save lives on Nevada roads.”

Two of the key factors in the traffic-related deaths could be unsafe driving behavior and increased number of miles traveled on Nevada roads, according to the fatal crash reporting data.

The number of miles traveled on Nevada roads jumps nearly 4 percent every year on average, the departments of Public Safety and Transportation said.

With that usual yearly increase, when compared to the amount of miles traveled on Nevada roads, traffic deaths have fallen from an average of 2.05 deaths per every 100 million miles traveled in 2005 to 1.3 fatalities per 100 million miles in 2015, the departments said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that about 94 percent of traffic deaths are the result of driver behavior.

“We focus on the driving behaviors and issues that lead to the most deaths and injuries on Nevada roads,” said Ken Mammen, NDOT Chief Traffic Safety Engineer. “Our goal is cutting the yearly traffic fatality average in half by 2030, with an 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.”

To save lives, traffic safety partners statewide used enhanced enforcement, engineering, emergency medical and educational strategies in six areas of emphasis: pedestrian, intersection, seatbelt and motorcycle safety, additionally reducing impaired driving and limiting lane departure crashes by focusing on distracted driving. To do so, Joining Forces heightened enforcement campaigns throughout the state last fiscal year, Nevada law enforcement officers issued over 76,000 citations to help reduce impaired, unbuckled, distracted or otherwise unsafe driving.

Road-wise, NDOT completed pedestrian safety improvements in the state, including on State Route 160 in the Las Vegas Valley.

Also, the state has created zero fatalities public education campaigns, which have reached over 97 percent of Nevadans. This was carried out by relaying traffic safety messages displayed over 182 million times on Nevada TV, radio, billboards, social media and more.

“For more than ten years, there was at least one traffic death over the Fourth of July holiday weekend,” Amy Davey, Nevada Office of Traffic Safety administrator. “In 2016, the Nevada Department of Public Safety partnered with Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in reminding Nevadans never to drive impaired, and, thankfully, there were no lives lost on Nevada roads during the Fourth of July weekend. It is one example of how Nevadans can truly come together to keep our roads safe.”

Mirroring Davey’s statement, NHP wanted to hammer home the importance of safety on Nevada roadways.

“We work every day to help everyone be safe on the road,” said NHP Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel. “But, ultimately we know that reaching zero fatalities relies on each and every person on the road, and we want to remind everyone always to be safe on Nevada roads.”

Total year-end traffic deaths could be adjusted based on ongoing traffic crash investigations. Statewide, traffic fatalities reached an all-time high of 432 in 2006.

To learn more about Nevada traffic safety, log on to www.zerofatalitiesnv.com.

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