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'100 deadliest days': Road safety messaging begins Memorial Day weekend

Mick Akers, Las Vegas Review-Journal on

Published in News & Features

LAS VEGAS — Memorial Day marks the beginning of what’s known as the 100 deadliest days of the year on roadways.

With teens and college students free from classes and families on vacation, there is more activity on the road. That increased activity during the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day leads to an uptick in crashes, including many involving younger drivers.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said it’s a good time to talk with teens and other younger drivers about the dangers of driving impaired and for older drivers to refresh themselves on the rules of the road.

“As we enter into a problematic time of year, it’s an important time to remind everybody in this community that they have a role to play when it comes to saving lives,” Naft said.

Although the message is mainly aimed at teens on break from school for the summer, all drivers should be cognizant that more motorists are on the road.

This year has already been a deadly one for young people on the roads, with 14 fatal crashes involving those between the ages of 14 and 21, according to UNLV’s Road Equity Alliance.

In each of the past three years, more than 100 fatalities have occurred on Nevada roads during the three full months in the span between the two holiday weekends.

With more fatal crashes involving people in their 20s compared with the number of crashes involving teens in Clark County, parents are encouraged to remind their older children about the dangers of impaired or risky driving.

 

“Young people losing their lives change communities,” Erin Breen, director of the Road Equity Alliance, said in a statement. “No matter the age of your child, remind them to wear their seat belt, have a sober ride home, don’t speed and pay attention behind the wheel.”

Parents should communicate with their children about safety tips, as pedestrians and as drivers. Motorists thinking about drinking alcohol or using legal recreational drugs should ensure they have made arrangements for a designated driver or ride-hailing services to stay safe.

“Just because they (pedestrians) might be in the right and walking in the right of way doesn’t mean that the cars can see them,” Naft said. “We have to remind our younger drivers and older drivers alike that impaired driving is not worth the risk. There are so many options available to people now and it starts with making a plan before you start to consume.”

If everyone plays their part, the negative connotation of the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day doesn’t have to exist, Naft said.

“It doesn’t have to be the 100 deadliest days,” Naft said. “This is a man-made problem and man-made solutions (are) here, and it starts with ensuring that you’re not impaired when you get behind the wheel.”

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