More pedestrians were killed last year in Clark County than in any other year since state officials began keeping track of this tragic statistic. The 78 people killed while walking on county roads, city streets and even sidewalks represented a 34 percent increase from the 58 pedestrian fatalities from 2016.

Such a number continues to perplex law enforcement and local officials who for years have promoted safety awareness throughout the region. What we do know is that speeding, alcohol impairment, and the inattention of drivers and pedestrians played a big part in the increase.

Sixth straight year of more than 50 pedestrian deaths

In addition, 2017 marked the sixth consecutive year that Clark County recorded more than 50 pedestrian fatalities, dating back to 2013. In the past 24 years, pedestrian fatalities topped 50 only twice: in 1996 with 51 and in 2005 with 52.

Of last year’s pedestrian fatalities, a total of 36 – or nearly half — of the victims were age 55 or older.

Although recreational marijuana use is legal in Nevada, no pot-impaired vehicle drivers struck and killed any pedestrians in Las Vegas in 2017.

However, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the seven states – including Nevada – that legalized recreational marijuana use between 2012 and 2016, collectively reported a 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2017 compared with the first six months of 2016. Meanwhile, the other states reported a collective 5.8 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities.

Tips that may help any pedestrian

Here are some tips on how to stay safe while walking in Las Vegas:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Use the crosswalk and avoid jaywalking.
  • Like drivers, you should follow all traffic signs and signals.
  • Walk in well-lit areas. Although many pedestrian fatalities are reported at night, it’s difficult to tell people not to walk after dark in Las Vegas. So just be careful.
  • Make sure drivers can see you. Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume that they are watching you as you cross the street.
  • Walk without distractions. Don’t use your phone to talk or text while walking, and don’t wear headphones to listen to music.

Stay alert when walking on Las Vegas streets. Following some basic rules just may prove life-saving.