What You Need To Know About Las Vegas, Nevada Pedestrian Accidents And Crosswalk Laws
There are pedestrian traffic laws in every state, and Nevada is no different. Pedestrians and vehicles must both abide by the law in specific ways, and these laws come into play when it comes to determining who is at fault for a Nevada pedestrian accident or hit-and-run incident. This is especially important since according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Nevada consistently ranks in the top 10 worst states for pedestrian fatalities, and 90% of these fatalities are local residents rather than tourists.
Here are some of the statistics on pedestrian accidents in Las Vegas, as well as key Nevada laws that govern how these pedestrian traffic accidents are handled.
Statistics of Traffic Accidents Involving Pedestrians in Las Vegas
Each year, dozens of people die in pedestrian automobile accidents in Nevada, of which 80% are in Clark County. According to the Nevada Current, 600 people were struck and killed by a passing driver in just the 10 years between 2008 and 2017, and hundreds more were seriously injured. Unfortunately, Las Vegas is not well designed for pedestrian safety, especially in older areas of town such as East Las Vegas and Paradise, where there are wider lanes and fewer pedestrian crosswalks despite the higher rates of pedestrian commuting there.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of pedestrians killed in these types of accidents still continues to rise each year. There was a 3% increase in the number of fatalities in pedestrian accidents in 2018, for a total of 6,000 deaths: the most deaths since 1990.
In recent years, the Nevada Department of Transportation has identified 4 key areas that see higher than usual pedestrian-car crashes in Las Vegas:
- Boulder Highway
- Lake Mead Boulevard
- Charleston Boulevard
- Craig Road
Areas with higher than usual use of public transportation, such as RTC Transit buses also see higher rates of pedestrian casualties and fatalities. Because of the violent nature of these car crashes, pedestrians often sustain debilitating injuries such as brain and head injuries and spinal cord injuries, many of which require intensive medical care and rehabilitation for the victim. In some cases, auto crashes can even lead to the death of the pedestrian.
The immense potential suffering from these types of accidents is why Nevada has clear laws in place protecting the rights of pedestrians on roadways and crosswalks. They can also help determine how much the at-fault motorist is liable for should the pedestrian win a claim or lawsuit.
Pedestrian Laws in Las Vegas, Nevada
According to Nevada Statute 484B.287, pedestrians using a crosswalk, or obeying crossing signage at a local intersection, usually have the right of way. That means that vehicles must yield to them when they are crossing the street.
The only exception to this rule is when the pedestrian steps off a curb onto the street, or darts onto the road suddenly, obstructing traffic. When this happens, cars do not have enough time to reasonably avoid the pedestrian by braking or moving out of the way, and the motorist may not be held liable for the accident. Pedestrians cannot simply jump into moving traffic as that will not give the driver time to hit the brakes, so contrary to popular belief, the pedestrian is not always in the right in these traffic accidents.
To protect both pedestrians and motorists from traffic accidents, Las Vegas issues harsh fines and tickets for jaywalkers. Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian crosses a roadway without being on a designated crosswalk or obeying crossing signage. While many roads in Las Vegas can have little to no crosswalks, it is still in the pedestrian’s best interest to take the time to find a crosswalk instead of rushing through, both for legal and personal safety purposes.
The reason that these laws exist is that, despite having them, there are going to be fatalities every year. Pedestrians in particular must be extremely attentive when crossing the street in Las Vegas.
Common Reasons for Pedestrian Crashes in Las Vegas
There are many factors that can go wrong and cause a pedestrian crash. Motorists, for example, may not be paying attention to the road due to texting or driving, or due to the influence of drugs and alcohol. Even if there is clear signage and a crosswalk on the street, drivers may fail to see a crossing pedestrian and yield right of way.
Pedestrians can also increase their risk of these accidents by disregarding crosswalks or crossing signage, or by crossing in areas without proper lighting. They may also be distracted by cellphone use, or disoriented due to drugs and alcohol. If there is a public transit stop nearby, there may be people who rush across traffic to try to catch their bus, but there is nothing more important than personal safety. If you find yourself needing to walk around Las Vegas impaired or in dangerous conditions, opt to call a cab or call a friend to pick you up.
As most people learn as young children, it is important to look both ways. It is referenced today as looking left, right, and then left again. Although you may have traffic only coming from one direction or the other, it is still good to follow that advice. If you happen to be walking to an intersection to use a crosswalk, you must always be on the left side facing traffic. If there are signal lights, you must abide by those signals that tell you whether you can cross or if you have to wait. If you happen to be walking at night, you need to be wearing clothing that can be easily seen. Try to make eye contact with drivers and stay far away from where their blind spots would be.
By following these simple recommendations, it should be easy for drivers and pedestrians to not have any incident at all when it comes to crosswalks. They are designed to make it easier for people walking and people driving to not have problems. This is also why many of these intersections have computerized lights that are designed to tell you when you can stop or go. All of these steps, when used together, can make it so much easier for pedestrians using crosswalks today. The same is true for drivers that simply need to be aware that pedestrians in a crosswalk are always going to have the right-of-way.
How Long Do You Have To Wait For A Pedestrian To Cross A Crosswalk?
There are also certain things that are just generally understood when you are driving a car. Most of them come down to common sense. For example, if there is a pedestrian crossing the road, you cannot drive your car forward until they have actually reached the median. This applies to right-hand turns, which is where many accidents tend to happen, especially when neither the pedestrian nor the driver is paying attention.
Additionally, drivers are not allowed to cross the threshold of a crosswalk until the pedestrian is clearly on the sidewalk. In regard to weighting, obviously a pedestrian cannot sit on the road. They must cross in a reasonable amount of time. That’s why there are timers on crosswalks that will tell them how long they have to cross from one side to the next. However, the driver still must abide by the commonsense rule that if a pedestrian is standing in front of them, they cannot run them over. By understanding both the statutes and using common sense, both drivers and pedestrians can participate in the streets together without incident.
What About All Walk Crosswalks?
These can get somewhat confusing when you are at an intersection and you see these all walk crosswalks. These are exclusive to only pedestrians, and these are placed often at intersections with the intention of eliminating the potential for collisions. As long as pedestrians will stop when the green light tells the driver to go, and go when they then have them right away, there should not be any accidents at all. Most accidents are the result of being impatient, negligent, or incapacitated whether you are walking or driving.
Can You Sue If You Are Hit By A Car In Nevada?
If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, especially at a crosswalk or in situations where the pedestrian has right of way, a claim or lawsuit can be filed against the motorist. Crashes involving pedestrians and automobiles are often serious and require hospitalization and/or long-term care, and the pedestrian (or in the event of a wrongful death case, their loved ones) have the right to pursue legal action to claim financial compensation for their suffering.
Some of the damages that can be covered by such a lawsuit include:
- medical bills
- lost wages
- lost earning capacity
- property damages
- physical and psychological treatment
The same is true for drivers that are actually injured in their vehicle as a result of a negligent pedestrian jumping out into the street. Lawyers are able to consider the statutes and laws of Nevada and potentially come to some type of settlement working with these individuals and their insurance companies. Should a settlement not be reached, the claim can then become a civil lawsuit in the court of law.