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Major Jump in Traffic Death Rates on Nevada's Rural Roads

PHOTO: The Nevada Dept. of Transportation is urging extra caution on Nevada's rural roadways, where fatal accidents have increased sharply in some counties in the first half of this year. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
PHOTO: The Nevada Dept. of Transportation is urging extra caution on Nevada's rural roadways, where fatal accidents have increased sharply in some counties in the first half of this year. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
July 24, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada's traffic deaths overall are down for the first half of this year, but fatalities on rural roadways are way up, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Meg Ragonese, the department's public information officer, says 124 traffic deaths in Nevada in the first half of 2014 is nine fewer than during the same time period in 2013 – but several rural counties are reporting huge increases in traffic deaths.

"For example in Elko County, so far this year, compared to the same time last year, traffic fatalities have jumped 800 percent," says Ragonese.

In the first half of this year, she cites 48 traffic deaths in eight rural counties, compared to only 12 during the same time period last year. In addition to Elko County, Churchill, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Storey and Washoe counties have all seen traffic death increases of at least 100 percent.

Ragonese adds there is no clear cause of the deadly trend.

"Traffic fatalities are so specific to each individual instance and driver behavior," she explains. "There's really not one specific trend or one cause we can point to that is related to this increase in the rural counties."

Ragonese says the state installs center-line "rumble strips" and puts many other traffic safety enhancements in place. But she says the best prevention comes from drivers being extra cautious and watching their speed on the roadways.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV