LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Researchers at UNLV are looking at some of Las Vegas’ most dangerous intersections, hoping to find patterns and ways to improve safety.
“Heading any list for dangerous intersections is Sahara and Decatur,” Erin Breen said. Breen is the Director of the Vulnerable Road Users Project at UNLV.
There were more than 50 crashes with injuries at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard in 2018. Not far behind on the list was Rainbow and Charleston boulevards.
“Other intersections that I know are particularly terrible are Maryland Parkway and Flamingo,” Breen said.
She added the biggest problem at these major intersections is red light runners.
“The amount of red light runners in our city is really amazing,” she said. “We see it all the time, we see it far too often, people choosing at an intersection, to not wait for the next green light, to push the red light long after they know they should.”
Breen added drivers are taking too many risks making left turns.
“So it helps traffic flow but it also leads to an increase in crashes so that's one of the things I know everyone is looking at,” she said.
Another alarming trend Breen said she is seeing is more intersections becoming hot spots for collisions.
“Unfortunately we're seeing the Sahara and Decatur’s happen in all section of town,” she said. “It used to be you could go to that intersection and say this is it. But boy there are others that are really chasing it.”
On a positive note, Breen said Boulder Highway, notorious for its traffic troubles, is becoming safer.
“Small improvements on Boulder Highway have made a dramatic difference,” she said.
In May, NDOT completed eight new crosswalks. And as a result, Breen said crashes are down. While she would like to see more enforcement, she said it all starts with habits behind the wheel.
“Where you see major traffic, you see drivers who think the laws don't apply to them,” Breen said.
Police along with each city’s and Clark County’s traffic teams study this data every day to make improvements.
UNLV is also tracking trends among teen drivers in the valley.
After years of seeing numbers go down, researchers said they’re seeing an increase in the number of teens involved in crashes.
Speeding is the number one reason they get pulled over.
“It’s pretty nerve-wracking, there's a lot going on,” teen driver Grace Holder said. “Sometimes you get focused on one thing and forget about another.”
“I usually try to say something, ‘I can do this for you. I can send that text. I can change the song,’” Teddy Lieber said. “But it's every time.”
Some promising news, researchers said the number of teens involved in DUI crashes has gone down.
On Wednesday, July 24 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., UNLV is hosting a day-long teen driving summit.
It will include a staged DUI crash and mock court trial. Teens will hear from trauma surgeons, Metro police and other teens whose lives have been impacted by crashes. The event is free.
For more information or to sign a teen up, contact Dr. Joanna Jezierska, PI for the 2019 NSTI by Monday, July 22nd at 5:00 p.m. at firstname.lastname@example.org.