Excessive speed has become a dangerous epidemic in Las Vegas
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 2 a.m
The horrific car crash that resulted in the death of 23-year-old Tina Tintor of Las Vegas and the arrest of former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III has drawn public attention to an issue that of growing concern to local road safety officials. for a while – speeding.
Authorities reported that Ruggs was driving 156 mph moments before his Corvette crashed into Tintor’s SUV on a residential street with a speed limit of 45 mph.
It was shocking to learn how fast Ruggs was traveling. But even worse, reports have come in the wake of the crash that quotes for drivers cruising at triple-digit speeds have risen sharply over the past two years in Nevada. In 2020, more than 4,400 drivers were cited for driving 100 mph or more, nearly 900 more than in 2019, and officials say they expect that number to increase again this year. .
And most of these violations occur in Las Vegas.
There seems to be a combination of reasons for this – more on those later – but this is obviously an issue that our community is grappling with aggressively.
This requires a multi-pronged approach that includes strengthened law enforcement, increased education / awareness and greater use of traffic engineering solutions. But another key element is taking individual responsibility: recognizing the dangers of speeding, slowing down to protect others, using a carpooling service after drinking, etc.
Unfortunately, the streets of Las Vegas are fertile ground for speeding – many of them are straight, flat, and wide, which can leave motorists feeling free in normal or light traffic. This requires safer designs, like the recently unveiled Boulder Highway modernization project. Work on this project will involve narrowing the road and reducing setbacks, both of which have been proven to reduce speed by making drivers feel more stuck. Other features include dedicated bus lanes, elevated cycle lanes and improved crosswalks.
But other, simpler improvements can help.
Drive on Pecos Road between Warm Springs and Sunset Roads, for example, and more often than not you will find that traffic slows down about the halfway point.
The reason? There is a sign equipped with a radar that indicates the speed of motorists and tells them to slow down if they exceed the speed limit of 35 mph.
And it works, as evidenced by the brake lights regularly seen when cars are within radar range. Studies on these signs have shown that they are effective in reducing speeding.
Of course, none of this will prevent 100% speeding. It depends on the individual drivers. But road safety officials say better designs and traffic calming devices will help.
“We can do a better job of engineering our roads,” Andrew Bennett, public information manager for the Nevada Bureau of Highway Safety, told The Sun’s sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. âThe pavement shouldn’t allow you to go that fast. You shouldn’t have the ability to go 156 miles per hour in a residential area.
Another positive step can be found in efforts like a new education campaign by the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition, which displays public awareness messages on billboards, buses, etc.
The campaign slogan – âLet’s go togetherâ – is worth spreading.
As stated earlier, several factors contribute to the increase in speeding. Experts say the popularity of the “Fast & Furious” franchise and similar films has spurred an increase in street racing, for example, to the point that Metro police have dedicated resources to the problem. Speed ââis also believed to be a behavioral holdover from the early months of the pandemic, when business closures made the streets less congested and motorists took the opportunity to drive faster.
Las Vegas also has a unique problem in that there is an immediate availability of high performance exotic cars for rent. Authorities say 8% of fatalities in the state involve these cars, with excessive speed playing a role in several of these crashes.
But this mix of reasons – cultural influences, road design, poor decision-making – has created a more dangerous environment on the streets of Las Vegas. We saw clearly the outcome of the tragedy that claimed Tintor’s life, but speeding had become a problem long before that and remains a cause for urgent action.