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Las Vegas Police Go Beyond to Protect Pedestrians during Holidays

With the increased traffic in the city during the holidays, Las Vegas police continued their annual program to warn Las Vegas drivers and pedestrians about the rules of the road and potential traffic dangers. How? By dressing Las Vegas police officers in turkey costumes and posting them in the crosswalks at three of the busiest intersections in Las Vegas – Charleston Boulevard and Burnham Avenue; Maryland Parkway and Reno Avenue; and Maryland Parkway and University Road – during the Thanksgiving holidays. During the Christmas holidays, the officers dress as Santa Claus.

Though traffic fatalities in Nevada are lower than in previous years, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased. According to the Nevada Transportation Board, so far this year, 41 pedestrian have been killed compared to 33 for the entire year of 2010. This included the death of CBS’s Reno television sports editor, JK Metsker, who was killed as he crossed the street after covering the Nevada-Hawaii football game, as well as an 11-year-old girl who was seriously injured while crossing Jones Boulevard against the light and outside the crosswalk the day the police conducted the safety program.

Under NRS 484.3245, a driver of a motor vehicle in Las Vegas is required to:
1. Exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian;
2. Give an audible warning with the horn of the vehicle if appropriate and when necessary to avoid such a collision; and 3. Exercise proper caution upon observing a pedestrian on or near a highway, street or road or in or near a school crossing zone marked in accordance with NRS 484B.363 or a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

NRS 484B.283 requires:
1. When official traffic-control devices are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the highway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the highway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the highway as to be in danger.
2. A pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
3. Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle until the driver has determined that the vehicle being overtaken was not stopped for the purpose of permitting a pedestrian to cross the highway.
4. Whenever signals exhibiting the words “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are in place …
(a) While the “Walk” indication is illuminated, pedestrians facing the signal may proceed across the highway in the direction of the signal and must be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles.
(b) While the “Don’t Walk” indication is illuminated, either steady or flashing, a pedestrian shall not start to cross the highway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed the crossing during the “Walk” indication shall proceed to a sidewalk, or to a safety zone if one is provided.
(d) Whenever a signal system provides a signal phase for the stopping of all vehicular traffic and the exclusive movement of pedestrians, and “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” indications control pedestrian movement, pedestrians may cross in any direction between corners of the intersection offering the shortest route within the boundaries of the intersection when the “Walk” indication is exhibited, and when signals and other official traffic-control devices direct pedestrian movement in the manner provided.

NRS 484B.287 further governs pedestrians by requiring:
1. Every pedestrian crossing a highway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.
2. Any pedestrian crossing a highway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.
3. Between adjacent intersections at which official traffic-control devices are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
4. A pedestrian shall not cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.
5. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.

So far for the holiday, the Las Vegas police safety awareness program has issued 64 citations to drivers for failing to stop, speeding, and driving under the influence. But while the drivers received the tickets, the Las Vegas police reminded pedestrians to look both ways before crossing, even in crosswalks.

The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident as either the driver or pedestrian, and would like to protect your rights, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.