Speeding is a huge problem in America. And sadly, it is the cause of many fatal highway accidents. So is it a good idea to install Elevated Medians to Deter Speeding and Crashes?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), Nevada had a population of 2,998,039 people in 2017. That year, there were 27,803,000 vehicle miles traveled, 290 fatal crashes, and 309 deaths. That gives Nevada a rate of 10.3 deaths per 100,000 population and 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
If speeding is a contributing factor in many of these fatal accidents, shouldn’t something be done about the problem of speeding?
But what can really be done to prevent speeding? The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) thinks they have the answer: installing elevated medians on our highways.
What are elevated medians and can they really prevent fatal highway crashes?
What Are Elevated Medians?
Elevated medians or “strategic traffic management sites” are elevated areas located in the medians of freeways that will make a Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle’s presence more visible to motor vehicles that are using the roadways.
The NHP created these elevated medians as a traffic safety measure. They installed these elevated medians along “trouble spots” that exist on Interstate 15 and United States Highway 95.
The NHP identified six trouble spots to place these elevated medians:
- On the southbound side of I-15 at Lake Mead Boulevard
- On the southbound side of I-15 at Spring Mountain Road
- On the northbound side of I-15 near Spring Mountain Road
- On the northbound side of I-15 near Russell Road
- On the southbound side of U.S. 95 near Cheyenne Avenue
- On the southbound side of U.S. 95 near Jones Boulevard
Most of these elevated medians are designed to feature a single patrol vehicle. Some of the medians will allow two troopers to be stationed at one time.
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Why Are Elevated Medians Needed?
The Nevada Highway Patrol began experimenting with the use of elevated medians in a 2018 pilot program designed to prevent highway crashes on Las Vegas’ busiest roadways.
The NHP conducted the pilot program on I-95 south of the Russell Road overpass. The results of the program were impressive: When NHP patrol cars were visible on elevated medians, the NHP saw 91 percent of speeding drivers slow down below the 65 miles per hour speed limit. This resulted in a 17 percent reduction of motor vehicle crashes during the test period.
The NHP used the elevated medians at all hours of the day, including during morning and evening rush hours, which are the most dangerous period for significant crashes. This is because traffic congestion can cause areas on the roadways where cars are stopped or traveling 25 mph or slower. When motorists are traveling at highway speeds and encounter a vehicle that is traveling slowly, this can result in serious traffic crashes.
As Highway Patrol Lt. John Arias told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “These congestion backups occur during the start of heavy commuting periods such as in the morning, evening commutes, and or as a result of a significant crash that closes multiple lanes on the highway.”
He continued, “Once traffic reaches congestion where normal traffic is traveling below the posted speed due to highway congestion and not due to the STMS sites, the preventative measure is no longer effective. What we are doing now (is) testing various strategies and utilizing messaging to maximize the efficient flow of traffic but still provide early warning to drivers that they are approaching high crash areas.”
Lt. Arias stressed, “Our goal is to figure out how we can better help everyone get to where they need to be faster and safer.”
Even with the new elevated medians, sadly, speeding-related traffic accidents occur. With our Las Vegas law firm’s experience representing clients in car accident cases, we can help you if you have been a victim in an auto accident. We encourage you to get in touch with us today for your free initial consultation. Please call us at (702) 857-6000 now.
Highway Safety Partnership
The elevated median project is a partnership between multiple state agencies:
- Nevada Highway Patrol
- Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT)
- Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)
The funding for the project came through Road to Zero federal grant. The grant is managed by the National Safety Council, which began the initiative with the goal of eliminating roadway deaths within 30 years by accelerating advanced technology, prioritizing safety and emphasizing past accomplishments.
Arias said, “We are proud to have been awarded the Road to Zero grant that allowed NHP to continue to work in partnership with NDOT and RTC, and further the use of Waycare’s cutting-edge technology to make a significant difference in traffic congestion and crashes.”
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The state agencies utilized Waycare’s artificial intelligence software to identify the areas with the most serious traffic accidents.
Waycare’s program utilizes in-vehicle information, existing cameras, sensors, and other traffic-related data to develop predictive analytics designed to reduce traffic fatalities and crash-related congestion.
When Waycare identifies an area at high risk for an incident, it alerts traffic agencies when and where to take preventive action. A traffic agency can then use dynamic message boards to relay advanced warning of an incident, alerting drivers to reduce speed and drive cautiously and deploy vehicles in high-visibility mode along the freeway.
Las Vegas was the first U.S. city that Waycare teamed up with on a pilot program. Waycare is an Israeli startup that already carried out a similar program in Tel Aviv. Waycare also recently started a crash prevention program in Tampa, Florida.
Following the successful pilot program the CEO and co-founder of Waycare, Noam Maital, said, “The results of this pilot program are a clear signal that AI and deep learning when deployed in collaboration with traffic management and enforcement agencies, can have a dramatic impact on improving the safety of even our busiest and most at-risk freeways.”
With all of the new safety initiatives in the Las Vegas area, it’s hoped that traffic accidents may decrease. These accidents, unfortunately, will still occur, even with the best safety precautions. If you’ve been the victim in an auto accident, don’t wait. Get in touch with our Las Vegas personal injury law firm for your free initial consultation. Call (702) 857-6000 today.
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This elevated median program is such an important initiative because it lessens the risk of car crashes caused by speeding. Speeding is a huge problem in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding killed 9,378 people in 2018.
Here are a few more facts about speeding:
- Speeding was involved in almost one-third of all fatal crashes in the past 20 years
- In 2017, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of all traffic deaths
Speeding is more than just breaking the law. Speeding also causes:
- Greater risk for losing control of your vehicle
- Reduced effectiveness of vehicle safety equipment like seat belts
- Increased stopping distance after a driver perceives a danger
- Increased degree of crash severity leading to more serious injuries
- Expenses related to a speed-related crash
- Use of more gas (spending more money on gas!)
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident that was caused by a driver who was speeding, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of car accidents, including accidents with large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
If you are looking for a law firm with experienced car accident attorneys, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000. We offer Free Consultations. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.