Impact damage to the Dodge Challenger.
Multivehicle Collision at Signalized Intersection
On Saturday, January 29, 2022, about 3:12 p.m. Pacific standard time, a multivehicle crash occurred in the intersection of North Commerce Street and Cheyenne Avenue, in North Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada. The crash was initiated by a 2018 Dodge Challenger passenger car, occupied by a driver and a front-seated passenger, traveling northbound on North Commerce Street. On approach to the intersection, the Dodge driver passed a slower moving truck, failed to stop at a stop sign, and gained speed, until reaching the traffic signal-controlled intersection with Cheyenne Avenue at a speed of 103 mph. The traffic signal for northbound North Commerce Street displayed a red light for at least 29 seconds prior to the crash. The Dodge driver entered the intersection on the red traffic signal and struck the right side of a Toyota Sienna minivan, which held seven occupants and was traveling eastbound on Cheyenne Avenue. Four additional vehicles traveling on Cheyenne Avenue became involved in subsequent impacts. As a result of the crash, the driver and passenger of the Dodge and all seven occupants of the Toyota minivan died.
What We Found
We found that the Dodge driver's use of cocaine and phencyclidine impaired his decision-making such that he accelerated to excessive speed and failed to obey traffic controls, resulting in the multivehicle crash. In addition, the Dodge driver’s history as a repeat speeding offender and specific actions on the day of the crash demonstrated a repeated disregard for safety and thus he was more likely to cause a fatal crash.
We also found that an intelligent speed assistance (ISA) system that electronically limits the speed of the vehicle may have mitigated the severity of the North Las Vegas crash. Improving public acceptance of ISA systems and wider voluntary deployment, such as by automakers, will facilitate the advancement of a new motor vehicle safety standard on ISA. We found that repeat speeding is a nationwide problem but evidence-based countermeasures targeting repeat speeding offenders are lacking. Further, inaccurate driver records reduce the likelihood that repeat speeding offenders can be accurately identified.
We determined that the probable cause of the North Las Vegas, Nevada, crash was the Dodge driver’s excessive speed and failure to obey traffic control devices. Contributing to the driver’s behavior was his impairment from the effects of cocaine and phencyclidine and his disregard for safety and traffic laws. Also contributing to the driver’s repeated disregard for safety and traffic laws despite numerous citations was the state of Nevada’s failure to deter the driver’s speeding recidivism due to systemic deficiencies, including routine plea agreements that alter or drop violations, inaccurate driver records, failure to accurately track citations, and delays in reporting convictions.
What We Recommended
As a result of this investigation, we recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) require ISA as standard equipment in all new vehicles, develop a communication plan to educate the public about the capabilities and benefits of ISA to mitigate speeding, update the Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety Programs to include tracking for repeat speeding offenders, develop countermeasures to reduce speeding recidivism, and develop guidelines to assist states in implementing pilot ISA interlock programs for high-risk drivers who speed.
We also recommended that the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia implement programs identify repeat speeding offenders and measurably reduce speeding recidivism. In addition, we recommended that passenger vehicle manufacturers install as standard equipment ISA systems that, at a minimum, warn the driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit. We also recommended that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluate the safety outcomes of marketing by automobile manufacturers that emphasizes risky driving behaviors such as speeding. Finally, we reiterated Safety Recommendation H-17-24 to NHTSA to incentivize adoption of ISA systems by including ISA in the New Car Assessment Program.
Read the Board Meeting Abstract