LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Law enforcement, federal, state, and local leaders, as well as survivors Law enforcement, federal, state, and local leaders, as well as survivors, and family members of victims of traffic crashes are coming together to make Nevada’s roads safer places.
On Thursday they announced the formation of “Stop Road Crashes.” It’s a group dedicated to addressing, and changing, the myriad dangers facing drivers, and pedestrians, on and along the state’s roads.
“This is a group that really started from the grass roots up. Stop Road Crashes, we’re here to advocate for positive change on roadways and protect the citizens of our state and we’re here in regards to traffic safety, there’s an issue in our community and everyone is aware of that and you see on the news unfortunately every day, and these last couple of weeks,” said Jason Patchett, the father of a teenager killed by a reckless driver.
Patchett worked very hard to get state lawmakers to pass “Rex’s Law” after a speeding driver ran down his son in a school zone right in front of his Henderson middle school.
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Tina Lavoie, the president and founder of Stop Road Crashes, lost her daughter to a single vehicle crash near Reno.
“Through our 13 years of speaking about Hilary and trying to pass a primary seatbelt law and being successful of passing a distracted driving law what we found is it’s not getting better on our roads, it’s getting worse since 2010 – 13 years – crashes have increased, fatalities have increased, pedestrian fatalities have increased and we have to do something,” said Lavoie.
Speed and impairment continue to be the leading causes of traffic-related deaths here in Southern Nevada. Pedestrian fatalities have reached record levels. While overall traffic deaths inch upwards. But those aren’t the only issues plaguing our streets.
“Traffic violence has increased substantially and we’re seeking to bring awareness to that from the community level and up. And we feel our voices are a collective and will be very powerful. We’re seeking not only legislative change but just behavioral change within our community. Allow people to think twice before they get behind the wheel, no matter what it is. Whether they’re going down the street or taking a longer trip, to really concentrate on all the road users we have and a lot of those road users are pedestrians and on the sidewalks or kids on bikes and scooters on the sidewalks, we really have to pay attention to that,” said Patchett.
Lavoie says change involves awareness, and that’s the group’s main mission.
“I was one of those people that would see this tragic thing on TV and think I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine. And you can’t, you can’t put yourself in that position and we don’t want you to know, we don’t want you to understand and know how that feels because that means you’ve lost someone special on our roads, someone you love and care about somebody in your family,” shares Lavoie.
And Patchett says, in most cases, most crashes are completely preventable.
“That’s the goal of the Stop Road Crashes organization to bring awareness to the issue to road fatalities that resulted in behavior that is reckless and frankly selfish. So, today was kind of an effort to proclaim our goals and desires but also to seek help and we can’t do this alone. I learned that lesson through the valuable legislature and sought to pass Rex’s law and it wasn’t just me or my family and I that were able to successfully took a community my friends my neighbors those within the Southern Nevada community.”
The group comes together on the Friday before a weekend traditionally known for a spike in drunk driving arrests. The National Safety Council estimates some 375 people will die in car crashes in the U.S. over the New Year’s Day holiday period. Local law enforcement and Nevada State Police will mount extra patrols dedicated to finding, and stopping, impaired drivers. Safety advocates say it’s not just about avoiding a DUI, it’s about saving lives.
“There’s no excuse for impaired driving other speakers are talking about that, the busses are free, the tram’s one dollar, ride shares give you discounts, there’s coupons online. You can’t go out and spend $100 on alcohol and say you can’t afford a sober ride to and from the event. That just the math doesn’t add up.”
First responders say Las Vegas is safe, secure, and ready for New Year’s Eve
There are a number of free or low-cost options available for those looking to party smart on New Year’s Eve. With road closures beginning around five on Sunday, public transportation, taxis or rideshares, may be the most convenient way to get to the Strip or Downtown.
Stop Road Crashes plans a contest for next year’s holiday season. Members tells us it will involve signing a pledge to drive safely, soberly, and vigilantly during the holiday season, with the possibility of winning a grand prize. FOX5 will have more details on that when the group releases them.
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