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'It's a nightly occurrence:' Wrong-way crashes present an increasing problem |

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'It's a nightly occurrence:' Wrong-way crashes present an increasing problem

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Since 2017, the Las Vegas valley has been experiencing a consistent amount of wrong-way car crashes, usually with impairment being the main culprit.

Las Vegas residents have been reeling after a deadly wrong-way crash on I-15 and Sloan that killed four people, agreeing that wrong-way driving is a serious problem that needs to stop.


UPDATE: Police confirm 4 killed in wrong-way fiery crash on I-15 south of Sloan; I-15 reopens

"It's a nightly occurrence that someone gets on the freeway going the wrong way," said Andrew Bennett, Public Information Officer for the Office of Public Safety. "One of the most important things to talk about is the prevalence of impaired driving when it comes to wrong-way crashes."

According to Bennett, in 2017, 100% of wrong-way deadly accidents involved driver impairment. In 2019, it was 90%.

"We ended last year with 382 lives lost on Nevada's roadways, a 14-year high, and we didn't start the new year in the right direction. It took only two hours and 15 minutes to have our first fatality. 11 days in, we are already looking at around 11 fatalities and that's truly unacceptable," Bennett said.

Las Vegas resident of 30 years Sarah Marks agrees that the issue is critical.

"I think it's outrageous. I've personally seen wrong-way drivers on the roads in Las Vegas. Obviously, this latest crash is horrific, and it's an impaired driver, which makes it even worse," Marks said. "Wake up, pay attention, and if you're on the other side of the road, drive defensively, watch for what could be coming at you, 'cause maybe your defensive actions could save your life from somebody who's impaired coming at you."

Public Information Officer for the Nevada Department of Transportation Justin Hopkins said the department is trying to help with the problem.

"The Nevada Department of Transportation just finished a three-year study on a wrong-way driver notification system that we believe is going to significantly reduce wrong-way driving crashes all across Nevada," Hopkins said. "Wrong way drivers were alerted and turned around 89% of the time before they got on the freeway. Unfortunately, the test was small. It was started off with just 37 ramps across the state, 36 of them in Northern Nevada."

Construction of this notification system on more off-ramps across the state will start soon, and the bidding process is planned to be finished by July.

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