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Nearly two months into 2021, 26 people have died on our Nevada roads — a 4 percent increase of this time last year.

“Our goal in the state of Nevada has and always will be zero fatalities,” said Andrew Bennett with the Office of Traffic Safety. “And, you know, this year that goal only lasted for four hours and 18 minutes.”

“We have to do more, and we owe it to the victims of traffic violence,” he said.

2020 was a deadly year for our Nevada roadways, as officials noticed drivers took advantage of the open roads spurred by the pandemic to speed or drive erratically.

Bennett says he’s disturbed to see 2021 continue down the wrong path.

“One of the behaviors that we saw become extremely prevalent during the pandemic months, or the heavy lockdown months, was we saw a dramatic increase in speed and impairments,” said Bennett. “As we have more people on the roadways and we still continue to see those behaviors, those are extremely dangerous and deadly.”

Bennett also notes fatalities for motorcyclists are up 25 percent compared to this time last year too, and last weekend there were 5 fatal crashes in only 36 hours.

Las Vegas drivers say they’re not surprised by the increase, noting they’ve noticed this change in the past few months.

“Some people are bumper to bumper, it’s really crazy,” said Las Vegas driver Kebisha.

Others noted that many drivers don’t seem to pay attention to, or respect, those who they’re sharing the road with.

“People really don’t respect each other on the roads,” said Las Vegas driver Corvallis.

Bennett says many of these crashes are preventable—related to speed, impairment, or not using a seat belt.

Of the 12 passengers killed in a crash this year, Bennett says half were not wearing seat belts at the time. He urges everyone to think of others when behind the wheel.

“I strongly believe traffic safety starts and ends with human kindness, we need to be kind and courteous behind the wheel,” he said. “We are humans, we’re las vegans–these are our neighbors”