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What Is The Solution To The Valley's Pedestrian Death Problem?

A vehicle hit and killed a 62-year-old man who was crossing Boulder Highway early Sunday morning.

Henderson Police say the man was not in a marked crosswalk. The 19-year-old driver, whose name has not been released, was not injured or cited.

The death is the first traffic-related fatality in Henderson this year. But, if 2014 is any indication, it won’t be the last in Henderson or Clark County.

Fifty pedestrians were killed in Clark County in 2014. That is a slight drop from 2013, but it’s still about one every week. Erin Breen, director of UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership Program, says 85 percent of those pedestrians are local residents.

Advocates say a few simple changes could be made to protect walkers, including changing the habits of walkers to protect themselves.

However, the design of roads in southern Nevada is part of the problem. Breen told KNPR's State of Nevada that wide, flat roads, like the ones throughout the Las Vegas valley, allow for bad driving. Plus, crosswalks are often so far apart that people have to walk out of their way to get to them. 

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"Roads are designed to move cars fast but not protect pedestrians," David Goldberg, communications director for Transportation for America said.  

During the 2013 Legislative session, Democratic Las Vegas Assemblyman Harvey Munford introduced a bill that would make it illegal for pedestrians to text, enter data, or otherwise read information on their cell phones while in the process of crossing a street. It failed to pass.

Breen said in the end both pedestrians and drivers are to blame for road deaths. 

"You can't engineer for stupidity" Breen said.

Guests:

Erin Breen, director, UNLV Safe Community Partnership Program

David Goldberg, communications director, Transportation for America  

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