Every day, truck drivers come and go from Las Vegas along two of the deadliest stretches of road in the country. The first, and by far the most dangerous by total number of traffic fatalities, is Interstate 15. Millions of driving hours are spent in the cabs of long-haul freight carriers each year along this road, giving the drivers of these rigs a unique perspective on what makes this highway so dangerous.
The total number of people that travel between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on I-15 each year is eight million. Truckers point out that many of these drivers are distracted, using cell phones or texting while driving. Others may be trying to get the party started early, or keeping it going after returning from a wild weekend. Drunk driving also has a serious impact on the dangers on I-15. Those dangers are real, because in the five years leading up to 2005, more than 170 people died on this stretch of Nevada highway.
Over the long-term, the stats look even worse for I-15 drivers. Over in San Bernardino County, more than a thousand people were killed on I-15 between 1994 and 2008, according to a Scripps Howard News Service. Some more frightening statistics from the same report include:
- Fewer than 50% of those involved in these accidents were wearing safety belts.
- One-third of the accidents involved speeding.
- In around 25% of the accidents, at least one of the drivers involved had been drinking.
Clearly, many drivers on I-15 do not follow basic common sense when driving. Many of them pay for this with their lives, and take many innocent lives along the way. For truckers heading out of Las Vegas, there is often no alternative but to use I-15 as a regular route to and from Southern California. They need to be extremely vigilant to protect themselves from less mindful drivers that share the same road. They may even end up needing a Las Vegas truck accident attorney through no fault of their own.
Smaller Road, Same Problems
Inside Las Vegas itself, one of its main thoroughfares is also its deadliest. Sahara Avenue runs east to west through the city, intersecting The Strip along the way. It also connects with I-15, creating one of the worst places to ever be in a car. In fact, the section of I-15 around Sahara Ave sees an average of 15 accidents each day. Along Sahara, every year the accident statistics and fatalities continue to grow. Over one recent five year period there were 14 fatalities listed due to speeding on Sahara Ave. Even more frightening is what happened during a ten day stretch in November of 2014.
The first fatality occurred on Sahara on the night of November 6, when a 57-year-old pedestrian was hit while crossing the street. The car was speeding and had its lights off. The second tragedy struck along Sahara just after midnight on the November 16. A group of teenagers was out enjoying a cruise through the night. The driver lost control of his vehicle while speeding and hit a light pole. Two of his passengers, both aged 13, were seriously hurt in the accident. The 17-year-old girl in the passenger seat next to him lost her life that night. In both of these cases, the drivers were speeding down Sahara after dark.
Truck Driving in Danger Zones
Truck drivers often have no choice but to add themselves into the mix on dangerous roadways like Sahara Ave and I-15. It is their job and livelihood. In case of an accident, they can count on a Las Vegas truck accident attorney to look out for them after the fact. But what steps can they take to maintain their own safety and continue to earn a living for themselves and their families? There are certain guidelines that they can follow when taking a different route is not an option.
Space is a truck driver’s best companion. If they can maintain a safe following distance between their truck and the vehicles in front of them, a truck driver can often avoid an accident. Tailgaters should also heed this advice, and stay back a reasonable distance from a truck. Speed is another key. Even more than with cars, speed plays a huge role in commercial truck accidents. It is a matter of physics that a fully-loaded tractor-trailer cannot stop quickly. Finally, the driver must anticipate and prepare for all possibilities on the road around them. There are many bad drivers on the road, and while a Las Vegas truck accident attorney can help after an accident, it is better to avoid the accident at all.