A 17-year-old from nearby Sparks tragically passed away after a vehicle hit her as she reportedly crossed a street near an area high school. According to reports, the accident occurred after dark and may have happened in close proximity to a crosswalk.
Law enforcement officials state that the driver who struck the victim was also a teenager. The driver remained at the scene of the accident and cooperated with the officers. Police have initially ruled out drugs and alcohol as a factor regarding the fatal crash and also have commented that they do not believe the teenage driver was speeding at the time of the accident. Accordingly, an investigation into the cause of the accident remains ongoing.
Pedestrian Accidents in Nevada
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are common across the country. While not all pedestrian accidents result in death, some of them do. These types of accidents are more common in areas where pedestrians frequent such as downtown districts, schools, or other heavily visited areas. When there is a high volume or a consistent volume of pedestrians, drivers must be aware of their surroundings and obligations when getting behind the wheel. Beyond following traffic laws, drivers must yield to pedestrians when they are lawfully crossing the street. When a driver fails to yield to pedestrians and causes an accident, he or she will be held liable for damages caused.
According to both the Nevada Departments of Transportation (NDOT) and Nevada Department of Public Safety (NDPS), pedestrian traffic deaths have increased in 2017 despite a decline in overall statewide traffic deaths in Nevada. According to the agencies, the number of pedestrian deaths spiked from 80 in 2016 to 99 in 2017. Bicyclist deaths also increased from six in 2016 to nine in 2017. Finally, the largest hike in pedestrian deaths happened in Clark County - 78 pedestrians died in 2017, which is 21 more than the year prior. Each year, the NDOT dedicates an average of $10 million to pedestrian safety projects on state roads.
Nevada law states that pedestrians using a crosswalk or obeying a crossing sign at a local intersection generally have the right of way. In other words, vehicles are expected to yield to pedestrians while they are crossing the street. The rare exceptions when a pedestrian would not have the right of way would be if he or she were to step off of the curb or suddenly dart into the street resulting in obstruction of the vehicle’s path and giving drivers too short of a time to press on the brakes or move out of the way and avoid the accident.
If a pedestrian does not cross a road at an intersection or in a crosswalk, he or she must yield to traffic in all circumstances. It is true that some roadways lack an intersection or crosswalk - leaving a pedestrian no choice but to cross wherever he or she can safely. Nonetheless, if a pedestrian fails to use a crosswalk or crosses an intersection or a street that does not have one, this is considered jaywalking under the law and the pedestrian may be ticketed by local law enforcement.
Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Nevada pedestrian accident - or suffered any other type of personal injury - contact the skilled Las Vegas attorneys at Parry & Pfau. We can help guide you through the Nevada legal system and seek the monetary compensation to which you are entitled.
(image courtesy of Basil Samuel Lade)