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Recent Highway 50 tragedies prompt zero-tolerance policy by Carson City Sheriff's Office

CARSON CITY — Anyone who has lived in Nevada for very long knows that U.S. Highway 50 is dubbed "The loneliest road in America." For those of us who have travelled its length through the Silver State, we find a mix of beauty and desolation.

If you have travelled it often, you no doubt have had your share of scary moments. Everything from the errant cow in the road to the inattentive driver who frightens you as they cross the center of the roadway and then, realizing they have done so, return quickly before the two of you pass.

For the most part, these are rural issues and are some of the risk we take whenever we get behind the wheel for an extended trip. But, what about Highway 50 when it enters into a more urban area?

What obstacles do we face? In the past few months we have seen many tragedies in our section of the highway. For the first part of this release I would like to address the issue of pedestrians. Ever since we were small children we were taught to look both ways before crossing a street and to always use the crosswalks.

Somewhere along the line as we entered adulthood those messages seemed to have faded from memory for many. It is not uncommon for someone to cross against a light, jaywalk, or worse yet, leave their lives in fates' hands as they cross a busy highway, especially at night.

Just as drivers have a responsibility to look out for pedestrians, pedestrians have a responsibility to ensure that they do not put others at risk by their actions. Let's face it, poor decision making leads to death. When you cross a busy highway without utilizing the provided crosswalks and signal lights, you are putting yourself and others in harms way.

The chain of events that follow touch everyone you know and even those you don't. Responding emergency personnel, witnesses, involved individuals and your family are all affected by your decision to cross.

As I write this, I can hear the sirens from emergency vehicles as they respond to another crash on Highway 50. This one is very close to another crash that claimed lives in the same vicinity near the top of what we know as "Dump Hill."

What will be the determination of this crash? Driving while intoxicated? Driver inattention? Cell phone use? The mind spins with questions on how this happened and what can be done to reduce such tragedy in the future.

Later as I speak with Carson City Sheriff Furlong about the most recent crash I am told that these situations have not gone unnoticed. Currently the Carson City Sheriff's Office is working with the Nevada Highway Patrol, Lyon County Sheriff's Office, as well as the Nevada Department of Transportation in an effort to find a way to "change the characteristics of the drivers who travel on Highway 50."

This will be a long term solution with the public's safety being the most important part of any plan that is developed. In the meantime, a zero tolerance for traffic-related offenses will be initiated.

As a citizen of this and the surrounding communities, you have an expectation that law enforcement will do everything in its power to protect those who travel on the roadways within your area.

Help us help you. Drive defensively, watch for pedestrians, put down the cell phone and enjoy the drive. let's not make Highway 50 "The deadliest road in America."

Sgt. Scott McDaniel
Carson City Sheriff's Office


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