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Experts: Barriers Not Clear-Cut Solution to Make Roads Safer | News

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Experts: Barriers Not Clear-Cut Solution to Make Roads Safer

LAS VEGAS -- After Wednesday's deadly accident in Summerlin, questions have been raised over whether a barrier could have saved the victims' lives.

Some say installing roadway barriers is not a clear-cut solution that will save lives.

An example is the 215 beltway where drivers treat the road as if it is an interstate highway. Some sections of the 215 beltway have concrete barriers, others have a median, and in other sections cars are only separated by a yellow line.

One mistake and anyone can suddenly find themselves in the path of danger.

Paul Polovina travels the 215 beltway just about every day.

"It is a little disgusting. There is so much great traffic. There are no barriers here." Polovina said.

It doesn't take long on 8 News NOW's ride-along for Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixson to pull someone over. On Friday, he was patrolling the 215 beltway near Ann Road.

"In our years of working out here on the 215, where it is not divided, we have no physical barriers, we don't have that many accidents that involve vehicles traveling on the opposite side," Trooper Hixson said. "we don't have any fatals that occur that often."

However, cars still speed by, and all it takes is one mistake, or one drink too many, and a dangerous driver can be on a collision course headed straight toward an innocent driver.

"Our engineers, both in the state, county and city, are constantly reviewing every roadway. What improvements can we make? Do we need a traffic signal? Do we need to adjust the timing of the traffic signal? Do we need any kind of barriers?" Hixson said.

Those are questions that are often asked by grieving loved ones when someone is killed in a crash.

On the 215 beltway between Jones and Decatur boulevards, new concrete barriers are being installed as part of new construction, but don't expect concrete dividers up and down the beltway anytime soon.

Blue Diamond Road has been dubbed the widow maker for its high number of deadly accidents over the years.

It is also an undivided road and while Nevada Department of Transportation has made major upgrades and lane improvements, there are no studies on barrier installations at the moment.

"Barriers, they have their purpose, they do what they need to do. Are they always the best option for keeping commuters safe? Not always," Trooper Hixson said. "It is just something the engineers decide when it's best, and when they implement, they definitely need it at that time."

The bottom line is that dangerous drives can be prevented by those behind the wheel.

"Las Vegas, we know we have a lot of cars. When you really break it down, it comes down to the driver. They need to pay attention and understand when they're behind the wheel of a vehicle, huge responsibility. Life and death responsibility." Hixson said.

In the meantime, Polovina wants drivers to act responsibly.

"It is the worst city I've ever driven in. And I've lived in many states including Illinois and California."

Hixson and other transportation experts say sometimes barriers or guardrails can cause more accidents when a car hits them, and innocent drivers in that lane pile up and get hurt.