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Clark County looks to limit exotic car rentals after fatal crashes

Updated November 18, 2021 - 8:01 am

Clark County officials are looking to halt risky behaviors by those who rent exotic vehicles in the Las Vegas Valley.

Following a string of deadly crashes involving rented exotic or luxury vehicles over the past year, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft requested the commission consider an ordinance tied to renting such vehicles.

“Essentially how we can get a handle on the exotic car rental industry,” Naft said. “It’s responsible for 10 percent of traffic fatalities in Clark County.”

Naft asked Andrew Bennett, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Public Safety, to work with the county’s business licensing department to come up with ways to potentially change the process for renting high-horsepower vehicles.

Bennett’s presentation noted that 8-12 percent of deadly crashes in Clark County involved rented exotic vehicles, with speed and impairment tied to 95 percent of the fatal instances over the last year.

Multiple recent instances were noted, including a fatal crash in June in which Las Vegas police say an intoxicated Texas man driving a rented Lamborghini at 141 mph struck and killed a 58-year-old Las Vegas resident on a moped. The crash occurred on Russell Road where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.

Such high-speed crashes have contributed to Nevada having its deadliest year on state roads in a decade with over 330 deaths, Bennett said.

“We’re currently experiencing an issue with speed,” Bennett said. “During the pandemic we saw that speed continued to be an issue on Nevada’s roadways. We have a perception unfortunately that speed is not as dangerous as some of these other behaviors.”

In addition to cars, autocycles are also an issue on state roads, Bennett said. He noted a crash involving a rented Polaris Slingshot three-wheeled vehicle that killed two men visiting from Massachusetts. According to police, the driver of the vehicle was speeding through a curve on the Red Rock Scenic Loop.

Bennett acknowledged that taming the industry wouldn’t solve all the problems on the roads, and noted the need for more enforcement and better road engineering.

Part of the solution to mitigating risk factors could be utilizing technology to curb speeding and to prevent drivers from operating such vehicle while impaired.

“Looking at technology, ignition airlocks are proving to reduce DUIs dramatically,” Bennett said. “Speed monitoring devices and governors are also an opportunity. We want people to enjoy our incredible Southern Nevada, we just ask them to do it safely and I do believe there’s technology (to do that).”

Other ideas floated during the discussion were potentially holding exotic vehicle rental businesses liable or requiring those who wish to rent a souped up vehicle to take a defensive driving course beforehand.

The county will continue to develop what the ordinance could include and bring it back to the board at a later date, Naft said.

Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick wasn’t sold that the recommended changes could stop everyone, as she noted it comes down to individuals’ behaviors.

“I don’t know how you regulate stupid,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m just being honest.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter

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