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Task force offers suggestions for keeping pedestrians safer

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Updated: 4/05/2013 7:13 pm
Las Vegas is a dangerous place to walk and lawmakers want to keep more people from being hit and killed on our roads. A pedestrian task force testified before the senate transportation committee today about ways to change our culture so cars and people on foot don't collide. News 3's Sandra Gonzalez is outside with more on today's testimony.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Las Vegas is a dangerous place to walk, and lawmakers want to keep more people from being hit and killed on our roads.

A “Pedestrian Task Force” testified before the Senate Transportation Committee Friday about ways to change our culture, so cars and people on foot don’t collide.

So far this year, just in Metro’s jurisdiction alone, 14 pedestrians have been killed.

Members of the Pedestrian Task Force want to change the way motorist think as they approach crosswalks, specifically midblock crosswalks. Currently the law is yield to pedestrians, but they want to change it to “stop” for pedestrians if Senate Bill 179 passes.

“…across the entire length of the side of the road of the direction you are traveling that you have to stop and you have to stay stopped,” said Erin Breen, Director of UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership.
And this would apply to unmarked intersection as well: stopping, not yielding.

Also proposed in school zones: no U-turns or passing; and possibly new signs to make drivers pay attention and slow down.

“There is no excuse for stupid in a school zone. none so whether it be speeding, passing, stopped cars...making illegal U-turns, talking on the phones or even worse, texting, the penalties in school zones need to be enough so those breaking the law will learn,” said Blake Bradley, a concerned citizen.

There is a proposal to install higher fines for drivers speeding through designated “pedestrian safety zones”, like the ones work zones have.

While these would increase penalties for motorists, advocates for this bill say pedestrians have responsibilities too; and that both need to make changes.

“Unfortunately we are seeing too many drivers and pedestrians distracted, not paying attention, having the wrong attitude about crossing the street, almost an arrogant: ‘people will stop for me’ or ‘people will go around me’ or ‘I don't need to stop for that pedestrian if I’m the one driving the car. It’s my road’,” said Sgt. Todd Raybuck of Metro’s Traffic Bureau.

This bill also includes a Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety School to educate offenders.

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