Survivors, advocates speak out as pedestrian deaths rise throughout Las Vegas valley

Fatalities are on the rise on Las Vegas roadways, with 2024 on track to surpass 2023 to become the highest number of pedestrian fatalities ever. STOP Road Crashes, a newly formed nonprofit, is advocating for safer roads for both drivers and pedestrians and is working to get people to slow down, pay attention, and save lives.

“2023 was the highest fatality year for pedestrians and we’re already at our August levels for pedestrians… so we’re already setting records in a bad way,” Kari Harlan, a member of STOP Road Crashes, said.

So far this year, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported 64 fatalities. That’s a 34.1% increase over last year according to the latest traffic statistics. Pedestrian fatalities are also up this year by a staggering 92.9%. Human error plays a devastating role in 99% of fatal crashes. 

“Since 2020, every month the leading cause of fatalities has been speed and impairment,” Hal Goldblatt, a 72-year-old crash survivor said. “We need to slow down and drive sober.”

Two years ago, Goldblatt was struck by a car.

“I was walking home from our synagogue, and I reached the crosswalk where I always cross – in fact, that crosswalk, my wife and I were instrumental in getting it installed,” Goldblatt said. “I was ¾ through the crosswalk when a car came out of Walmart, was speeding, hit me.”

Goldblatt said he was projected 79 feet through the air and shattered the driver’s windshield. He broke 13 bones including his skull, spine, and both arms and legs. Goldblatt spent 10 days in a trauma center, unconscious in an induced coma. He considers himself lucky to be alive today.

“One of the reasons why I’m so passionate about STOP road crashes is I lost my mother-in-law 15 years ago in July to a drunk driver,” Harlan said.

STOP Road Crashes hopes through public support and education, we can all work together to put an end to deaths and critical injuries on our roads. They hope to build a community where people can travel without fear and ensure every journey comes to a safe conclusion.

“We have to get the word out that people have to stop,” Goldblatt said. “If you see someone standing in a crosswalk – stop. Slow down when you’re in a school zone. Pay attention please. Save lives. Some of the lives you save may be your very own.”

This article is a reprint from the 8 News Now website