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19 pedestrian deaths this year already in Nevada; New prevention campaign to be unveiled

19 auto-ped deaths this year in NV. Traffic safety advocate Erin Breen says new campaign hopes to curb those numbers for good. (Sandra Gonzalez/KSNV)

Safety advocates and local leaders say pedestrian deaths outnumber deaths from breast cancer and HIV in Nevada.

They are calling it an epidemic and are initiating a new campaign to help prevent these tragedies

The campaign is actually a play on words. The epidemic is purposely misspelled ePEDemic.org, as 'PED' is pulled from the word 'pedestrian'.

"We have streets that are very fast. We have long stretches of road with nowhere for pedestrians to safely cross the street," says Erin Breen, a traffic safety advocate at UNLV. She and others are doing everything they can to stop people from getting hit and killed in our valley.

"Ultimately they are not getting the message," she says.

The Nevada Department of Public Safety says this year alone 19 pedestrians in Nevada have been hit and killed. In Clark County, there have been 12. Many of the victims are rushed are rushed to UMC.

"We have patients who are in here for weeks in comas, broken bones, they never go back to their old life again," says Abby Hudema, UMC's Trauma Program Trauma Manager.

Hudema says sometimes people just don't get the message about crossing streets safely even if they see it over and over. She says the new campaign should help.

Meanwhile, Breen says one of the solutions that appears to be helping are these crosswalks, known as Danish offsets. She says most pedestrians follow the angled path to more safely get across the street.

"We need more streets like this," Breen says.

Of course, many people still jaywalk; and at a night, if they wear dark clothing, it's tough for drivers to see them.

Another big problem: cell phones.

"If you can't live without that phone, put it in the glove compartment, put it in your back pocket. Don't walk across the street with your face in your phone, and for heaven's sake don't drive down the street with your face in your phone," Breen says.

"Because it's one millisecond that can end or change their lives forever," Hudema says.

The ePEDemic.org campaign won't be revealed until Friday.

It will be on bus shelters, stickers, and on the radio.

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