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It’s a law which should be common sense to all drivers in Las Vegas. But it bears repeating here since too many people do not seem to take it to heart: drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers. So when a driver chooses to operate a motor vehicle recklessly or negligently without regard for his or her safety, he or she should realize that such behavior could adversely affect the well-being of any passengers in that vehicle. 

This point comes to mind when examining what happened during a fatal auto accident from over the weekend in downtown Las Vegas. Around 10:45am Saturday morning, a 56-year old man was driving a 2007 Hyundai Elantra south on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Costco. A 54-year old female passenger was in the car with him. The driver attempted to make a left turn onto West Symphony Park Avenue and was broadsided by an oncoming 2004 Chevy Trailblazer. The crash killed both occupants of the Elantra.

Initial indications are that the Elantra did not have the right of way when turning left. Though the investigation is continuing, it should be noted that left-turning traffic at that intersection is protected by a green arrow; which implies that one of the two vehicles did not have the right of way.

If it is determined that the Trailblazer did indeed run a red light, then naturally its driver would be held responsible for the deaths of the Elantra’s occupants. But if the driver of the Elantra was at fault, he would be held liable for the death of the female passenger. In this latter case, the surviving family members of the 54-year old woman could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of the 56-year old man (assuming that the two are not related).