LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Memorial Day weekend marked the start of what officials refer to as the 100 deadliest days of summer for Las Vegas roadways.
The latest report by Zero Fatalities shows that 99 people have been killed this year in traffic-related crashes statewide. Eighty-two of the fatalities were in Clark County alone.
However, behind the statistics are the names and faces of the lives lost. One minor, Debbie, didn't live to turn 7 years old.
Debbie's mom, Dawn Blinder, says no matter how much time goes by, losing someone you love never gets easier.
"She will always be our little girl," Blinder said. "She'll be forever seven."
Debbie enjoyed gymnastics, playing with her little brother, and absorbing everything around her.
"She learned how to recite the ABCs backwards and would recite them for anyone who wanted to hear," she said.
Blinder would never get to hear her little girl do that again.
"It was just your normal every day, not knowing that this day would be different than any other," Blinder said.
On September 23, 2004, Blinder was driving Debbie and her brother, Steven, to school when a distracted driver ran a stop sign, slamming into the back of her car.
"When I turned around and checked to see how my kids were in the backseat, I saw Debbie and I knew it was bad." she said.
Debbie died the next day.
Erin Breen, the Director of The Road Equity Alliance Project at UNLV'S Transportation Research Center has research which shows that a person takes their eyes off the road on average 4.5 seconds. In that time, driving at 45 mph, one can travel the length of a football field.
According to Breen, speeding and impaired driving has increased. This mixed in with bad habits like using your phone, eating while driving, and more creates a deadly recipe.
Blinder's daughter Debbie would've turned 25 this year, but instead of celebrating, Blinder is left with memories and thoughts of what the future would've looked like for her little girl.
Blinder's story helped get the misdemeanor manslaughter law passed.
In 2021, 43,000 people were killed in traffic-related crashes in the U.S. with speeding and impairment being the top factors.