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Roadway fatalities pass 100 in Las Vegas this year

Roadway fatalities pass 100 in Las Vegas this year

By Marco Villarreal. CREATED Dec 7, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A sobering milestone in the Valley as the number of traffic fatalities breaks the 100 mark. Sadly this number represents people, and many of them were pedestrians who never made it back home.

The number is at 102 fatalities with Metro responding to the latest accident Thursday night when a man in a wheelchair was was hit outside a crosswalk. With still several weeks left in the year law enforcement and safety advocacy groups are unsure what more they can do to try and save lives.

The scene was a gruesome one. A motorized wheel chair, its pieces lay strewn across the intersection of Jones near Robindale in the southwest side of town. A dark Nissan Altima is parked in the middle of the road moments after hitting the victim police say was within sight of a crosswalk. The disabled man, rushed to UMC, was pronounced dead.

"In Clark County our overall fatalities are at least 165, which is 50 more than we had last year, and we still have three weeks left in the month," says Erin Breen with UNLV's Safe Community Partnership.

Looking at Metro's jurisdiction alone, in 2011 they saw 66 traffic fatalities. When it comes to pedestrian deaths, 2011 saw 19 while this year the number jumps drastically to 36.

"Everyone's racking their brains trying to figure out what is it this year, because we had 5 years of dramatic declines in our fatalities, and now this year we suddenly see this huge spike," says Breen.

Metro is just as frustrated. While they urge drivers to increase their awareness of their surroundings, pedestrians are also not doing their part to stay alive.

"The number one causal factor for our auto pedestrian fatalities is pedestrian error. Where somebody is crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or stepping into a travel lane without first looking both ways," says Officer Meltzer with Metro.

Speaking with pedestrians, some seem to think there are more of them on the road than years past.

"There's more pedestrians because of the economy, all that. There's not as many people buying cars, renting cars," says Daniel Althoff.

In the end, police and the community say the deaths will decrease when everyone starts caring more.

Metro is still very concerned about seeing this number of traffic fatalities rise in the following weeks. As the holiday's near, they remind drivers and pedestrians to pay attention.