Sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2013 - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2013

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

It's a sad statistic for the Las Vegas Valley. The year 2013 will be remembered for numerous fatalities on Valley Roads. There have been 106 traffic-related fatalities in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's jurisdiction alone this year.

The latest one occurred Wednesday night when a 53-year-old pedestrian was hit and killed near Lamb Boulevard and Desert Inn Road.

The numbers are going in the wrong direction. In 2011, there were 72 traffic-related fatalities in Metro's jurisdiction. Many of this year's deaths involved pedestrians.

"The trend that we see in the last couple weeks … I don't want to even imagine what the number is going to be at midnight on Dec. 21," Metro's Sgt. Richard Strader said.

Erin Breen from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' Safe Community Partnership studies traffic-related fatalities.

"We have this phenomenon, and it's happening more and more in our community where pedestrians walking down the street say, I suddenly want to go here, and they go without the thought of vehicles and vehicle speed," she said.

In 2010, 29 pedestrians were killed in the Las Vegas Valley. So far in 2013, that number is up to 46.

"It's incredibly frustrating, as someone who does pedestrian education, and I'm sure Metro is widely frustrated," Breen said.

Strader believes the increase in pedestrian fatalities comes down to attitude.

"I think people are lazy. I think they are going to say it's not going to happen to me," he said.

Breen would like to see more marked crosswalks and for pedestrians to be held accountable for careless crossing, but she admits it all comes down to personal responsibility.

"No one wants to be in the position of killing someone or losing someone you love," she said. "I can't think of a worse time of year – there's never a good time – but this is certainly the worst time of year to lose someone that you love."

A ticket for jaywalking or one for a pedestrian who failed to yield can cost upwards of $275.

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