A night out on the town almost turns deadly when a car blows through a stop sign in Las Vegas, nearly hitting you in the crosswalk. You watch the car swerve away, wondering if that driver was drunk behind the wheel.
Or, perhaps a member of your group does get hit, this time by a cab pulling rapidly away from the curb. The distracted cab driver, talking on his cellphone to book another ride, doesn't even see you as you cross the street. You dive out of the way, but your spouse gets clipped and winds up in the hospital.
No one thinks it will happen to them. But here's the reality: It does happen, all the time, and you may actually count yourself lucky with a near miss or injuries. In truth, Vegas has become far more dangerous for pedestrians over the past decade, setting records for pedestrian fatalities.
The bleak statistics
In 2009, just 29 deadly pedestrian accidents occurred in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas. That was the lowest total on recent record, going all the way back to 1994.
It also demonstrated a nice move toward safer streets. The year before, 45 people passed away in pedestrian crashes. It looked like Clark County had gotten a lot safer, very quickly.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the reality. The statistics have skyrocketed since then, hitting record highs.
It has happened slowly. 2010 saw an increase to 33 deaths. 2011 actually saw a drop back down to 30. In 2012, though, there was a serious jump back up to 43. In 2013, the number hit 54. It dropped slightly to 52 in 2014. However, that was followed by a leap to a record high of 60 in 2015. The next year, 2016, came very close, hitting 58 pedestrian deaths. By October of 2017, Clark County had already hit 58 deaths again, tying it with the prior year even with months to go and putting it on pace for the most deadly accidents on record.
It gets worse: By the end of the year, a staggering 78 people died. It was the worst year by a long shot, and it also means that 20 people died between October and the new year alone.
The reasons for the high fatal accident statistics are many. Las Vegas naturally produces a ton of foot traffic, so the odds of pedestrians and cars encountering one another are simply higher than they are elsewhere. Some of it has to do with drunk driving and distracted driving, as noted in the examples above.
Vegas offers a carefree, party-oriented atmosphere. While that's great for a vacation, it does not make for the nation's safest streets. Those who get injured or lose loved ones must know their legal rights.