The DPS, in collaboration with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), released its yearly Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data summary breaking down the number of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, the type of person in the fatality (vehicle occupant, motorcycle, bike or pedestrian) and the number of accidents involving alcohol.
Preliminary numbers from the FARS report show 234 crashes causing 258 fatalities. Thirty-seven of the crashes in 2012 involved alcohol and 42 of the fatalities involved alcohol. By comparison in 2011, Nevada had 223 crashes causing 246 fatalities including 71 crashes and 75 fatalities involving alcohol.
In the county-specific breakdown of the FARS report, Washoe County had two more crashes in 2012 totaling 31 and its fatality total rose by one equaling 31. In alcohol-involved accidents Washoe County had seven less crashes and fatalities than in 2011 totaling three crashes and three fatalities. Clark County registered the statistics of all 16 Nevada counties totaling 152 crashes, 170 fatalities, 27 alcohol crashes and 30 alcohol fatalities.
According to the DPS and NDOT, serious traffic injuries were down in 2012, with a preliminary number of more than 725 serious traffic injuries in 2012 compared to 1,222 in 2011. The Nevada Strategic Highway Safety Plan strives to cut the fatality average in half by 2030 though enforcement, engineering, emergency medical and educational strategies.
“Agencies and organizations across the state are working together and continually putting enhancements in place to save lives and prevent serious injury on Nevada roads,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said in a press release. “But ultimately, reaching zero fatalities relies on each and every person. When we think of ourselves, our friends and our family, one traffic death is too many. That’s why it is so important that we each be safe every time we’re on the road.”
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol and Sparks Police Department personnel worked throughout 2012 and continuing into 2013 to cut down hazardous driving. Distractions such as cell phones and impaired driving have been at the front of cutting down fatalities, but sharing the road is an important message police agencies stress.
“Pedestrian deaths are unfortunately up this year, and it’s important that both drivers and pedestrians be safe and share the road,” NHP Trooper Jeremie Elliot said. “And wearing a seat belt is still statistically one of the most important things you can do to help save your life and reduce injuries in a crash. It truly comes down to always focusing on the road and being safe while driving, walking or riding.”
Pedestrian deaths grew from 46 to 58 between 2011 and 2012 and Washoe County was responsible for 11 of them. Clark County also saw an increase of 12 growing as its 2012 total reached 42.
Given the amount of motor vehicle accidents causing serious injury or death around the state, car insurance can become somewhat of a worry for citizens who live in high-traffic areas. Local State Farm Insurance agent Jenn Weible said her company takes the city’s driving reputation---among other things---into account when determining an insurance premium.
“The premiums do have to do with driving statistics,” Weible said. “We do look at specific areas such as Washoe County or Sparks and look at the amount of crashes we have and what were paying in terms of claims on those crashes. We do use those to carry forward our premiums.”
Weible said determining a premium can go as far as knowing the car a client plans to insure and researching the price tag on crashing that vehicle. However, much of the research comes down to the driving habits of a client and their past driving history.
“We have really gotten very specific with our coverage,” she said. “We try really hard to match the rate with the driver and what they’re driving. It is very individualized anymore. We are using historical data and we really put a lot emphasis on the individual.”
In an attempt to bring down the fatality average over time the DPS has launched several advertising campaigns and funded grant programs, such as Joining Forces, to heighten awareness. The “Click It or Ticket,” “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” “Text Later” and “Be Pedestrian Safe” campaigns have appeared throughout the area and will continue to remind drivers to be safe on the road.
Fatality Analysis Report System stats box
- Largest Crash Increase: Clark County, 40
- Largest Crash Decrease: Douglas, Lyon and Nye counties, 7
- Largest Fatality Increase: Clark County, 53
- Largest Fatality Decrease: Churchill and Lyon counties, 9
WASHOE COUNTY ONLY
- Pedestrian Fatalities: 11
- Motorcycle Fatalities: 6
- Bike Fatalities: 0