Mob Museum hosts traffic safety awareness event

Clark County School District police officer Aaron Case helps Maria Silva attempt a driving into ...

A sober Maria Silva pedaled a tricycle on gravel course next to the Mob Museum.

Her obstacles Sunday afternoon: wearing goggles that simulated impairment while she listened to step-by-step instructions from an officer.

She ran over the first cone and struggled to maneuver around the others.

“That was harder than I thought,” Silva said afterward. “I’m glad I don’t drink and drive. I don’t want to do that ever again.”

She and her daughter, 11, attended the free museum-organized “Community Safety Day” event that focused on traffic safety.

At least 382 people died on Nevada roadways in 2021, the deadliest since 2006. Clark County saw a 22 percent increase from 2020.

The 45 fatalities investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department from Jan. 1 to April 15 this year were a 25 percent hike from the same time period in 2021, Metro figures show. Three more deaths had occurred as of late Saturday.

Clark County School District police Sgt. Juan Wibowo said the goggles Silva wore were designed to simulate the vision of someone with a .07-to-.10 blood alcohol level.

“It’s not gonna give them the whole effect,” said Wibowo, noting that a sober person thinks more clearly than someone who is impaired. “But it does give you the visual of what that might be like.”

He added: “This is on a tricycle. Can you imagine what it’s like to be in a vehicle?”

School district police present two-to-four times a month at other community events and at valley schools, teaching the dangers of drunk and distracted driving.

“Anything that we can teach kids just to make better choices, that’s our goal,” Wibowo said.

Both Silva and Wibowo said that news of preventable crashes upset them.

“It drives me crazy,” said Wibowo, a father of two, who has been with the police department for 14 years. “Just the idea of somebody losing their child because they’re doing something where they’re in a bad spot — (make a) bad decision — it breaks my heart.”

Shakala Alvaranga, director of public programs with the Mob Museum, said the event was an extension of their monthly public safety forums.

“We really try to highlight the most pertinent issues here in Southern Nevada, and traffic safety and the amount of traffic fatalities that we have here in Southern Nevada is concerning,” she said. “We’re hoping that people will just be able to walk away with some kind of knowledge about traffic safety in general, and how to prevent traffic fatalities.”

Food trucks fed attendees, who could sign up for free passes to the museum. University Medical Center, the Red Cross of Southern Nevada, the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada sent representatives who shared safety information from booths.

Community Ambulance provided an emergency vehicle attendees could hop on.

“They are able to get that hands-on experience in the case that maybe they did end up needing an ambulance, they don’t have as much fear going in there,” said Kaitlyn Rogers, an emergency medical technician.

In her decade-long career, Rogers has responded to traumatic incidents around the valley, including crashes and the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting.

“People don’t call us when they’re doing well,” she said. “They call us when they’re in their most vulnerable state, and I can be that compassionate human.”

She said it was rewarding to share safety tips to children who entered the ambulance.

“I like to say, ‘we can do your walk-through today and then hopefully you’ll never need it again,” Rogers said.

Silva echoed those lessons.

“Everybody needs to learn about the rules,” she said. “It’s pretty obvious, you think, but when you actually go through it, you actually learn more than what you thought you knew.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.