Las Vegas area remains plagued by pedestrian accidents

Overall pedestrian deaths declined slightly in the United States during 2013 - but, unfortunately, not in Las Vegas. According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, a total of 70 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the Las Vegas area last year. This was an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous year, and the equivalent of about one pedestrian death every five days.

Even more troubling is the fact that these accidents continue to occur with greater frequency in the area despite the fact that overall traffic fatalities are in decline elsewhere. The local pedestrian fatality rate has been rising steadily since 2009, when 26 people died while traveling on foot or bicycle in Las Vegas.

Pedestrian safety is everyone's responsibility

Although there are steps that pedestrians can take to help minimize the risk of being hurt in a crash, such as being attentive, following traffic laws and using crosswalks and sidewalks wherever possible, drivers themselves bear much of the responsibility for keeping pedestrians safe. After all, with the average passenger vehicle tipping the scales at around two tons, a car can easily become a lethal weapon when it is operated with anything less than undivided attention and complete respect for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians alike.

Safety experts say drivers cause about half of all pedestrian accidents by running red lights, turning illegally and failing to stop at crosswalks, the Washington Post reported recently. In Las Vegas, drivers should be aware that crosswalks exist at every intersection, even if they are not marked as such. Thus, motorists must yield to pedestrians at those locations. Additionally, before passing a vehicle that is stopped in a lane of travel, drivers should check to see that that other vehicle has not stopped for a pedestrian.

Drivers may be liable to injured pedestrians

Whether due to inattention, alcohol impairment or any other form of negligence, drivers who injure or kill pedestrians in Nevada can be held liable for the harm they cause - even if they are not charged with a crime or traffic offense in connection to the crash. People who are hurt or lose a loved one in a Nevada car accident may be able to recover monetary compensation for lost wages, medical and rehabilitative costs, loss of financial support and other damages. Thus, crash victims and their families should be sure to seek advice from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at their earliest opportunity.