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Media Campaign Addresses Nevada's Intersection Traffic Deaths

PHOTO: A statewide media blitz under way is focused on reducing traffic deaths at Nevada intersections. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
PHOTO: A statewide media blitz under way is focused on reducing traffic deaths at Nevada intersections. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
March 10, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada's Department of Transportation (DOT) is hoping a statewide media campaign will help reduce traffic deaths at intersections. Meg Ragonese, DOT public information officer, said the "Intersection Safety Campaign" includes billboards, television and radio public service announcements, as well as online ads encouraging drivers to be cautious when approaching an intersection.

She added that 2013 was on par with 2012, when more than 80 deaths and 10,000 crashes occurred at Nevada intersections.

"Just last year, there were more than 90 deaths at Nevada intersections. That's why we're starting this campaign to remind everyone to stop on red and never drive distracted," Ragonese explained. "These types of senseless deaths don't have to happen, if we all drive safely."

While drunk driving and speeding are among the causes of the crashes, she said, driver distraction may be the biggest cause.

The Intersection Safety Campaign features Cheryl Johnson, Reno, whose daughter, Jayme, was killed in 2010 when a driver sped through a stop sign and broadsided her vehicle, Ragonese said.

"Four years ago, Jayme was hit and killed by an 18-year-old man who was just running down to the local convenience store with a friend. He was not paying enough attention, and hit and killed Jayme there in the intersection," she said.

The driver of the car that killed Jayme, Jeffrey Elander, is currently incarcerated but also took part in the public awareness campaign, Ragonese said, adding that Elander was not driving drunk when the crash occurred.

Ragonese said the $200,000 "Intersection Safety Campaign" is being funded through a federal government program.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV