UNLV School of Medicine receives nearly $500K in grant to study traffic fatalities and injuries

UNLV School of Medicine receives nearly $500K in grant to study traffic fatalities and injuries

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It seems almost every day we see some sort of a deadly crash in Las Vegas.

Though each crash has different circumstances surrounding it, there could be common trends that play a factor. 

“A greater percentage of people will die at the scene and a higher percentage of people will become more severely injured so they will never be the same again,” said Dr. Deborah Kuhls, a critical care surgeon at UMC and a lead investigator with UNLV’s Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine to study deaths and injuries on Nevada’s roads. 

With a $437,101 grant from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Dr. Khuls and her team take a deep dive into every single crash to see what the most contributing factor is and what needs to change. 

“I can look at trends I can look for particular injury patterns amongst our pedestrians since those are a vulnerable population,” Dr. Khuls said. 

According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety in 2021, there were 289 people who died on our roads, 59 of them were pedestrians. The leading cause is said to be impairment and speeding. 

“It’s unbelievable that some people are driving those speeds you do not have time to stop if someone is trying to cross the street, they don’t have time to see you,” said Laura Gryder one of the project directors. 
Gryder said the COVIV-19 pandemic in 2020 set the tone for reckless driving in our area.

“People saw open roads instead of going normal speeds and getting there safely they were seeing some very intense and deadly crashes,” said Gryder. 

She said as Las Vegas expands, it becomes less pedestrian-friendly with wider roads and smaller sidewalks. The team is hoping with their study they can help make an impact on changes that come to the roads.

Ultimately they hope this study can help lead to policy change. They will gather enough data and present it to lawmakers to hopefully reduce speed limits, change the way our roads are designed, and hopefully have an impact on the harsher penalties for those who take advantage of the wheel. 

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