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The state of Nevada is the 7th largest in size in the U.S. but only 35th in population. With the exception of the Reno-Carson City and Las Vegas areas, the state is very rural. Desert and mountains comprise most of its 110,561 square miles. Most semi truck accidents occur on roads in these rural areas.
Nevada is divided into three large regions, called NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) Maintenance Districts. These regions roughly divide the state into thirds. With a budget exceeding $1.5 billion, NDOT is responsible for approximately 5,389 miles of roads and 1,116 bridges. Trucks have a large impact on this infrastructure with an estimated 1.7 billion miles driven in 2010.
Two main routes cross the northern part of the state, each over 400 miles long. The most widely used of these two semi truck routes is Interstate 80. In Nevada I-80 generally follows the route of the first transcontinental railroad built in the 1860s. U.S. Highway 40 was built along this same route in the 1920s, but has been replaced by the Interstate.
Farther to the south, U.S. Highway 50 also crosses the state. Now known as "The Loneliest Road in America," U.S. 50 was built in the 1920s as part of the original U.S. Highway system and in Nevada; it roughly follows the path of the old Pony Express route. Like Interstate 80, drivers can take U.S. Highway 50 from the west side of Nevada across the state to Salt Lake City in Utah. But Highway 50 is a much different route, less traveled by both cars and trucks. Truck traffic on U.S. 50 functions more for local delivery rather than interstate long haul.
Interstate15 crosses the southern part of the state through Clark County and Las Vegas. The section through Las Vegas is heavily traveled, with up to 246,000 vehicles on the road per day. Large trucks can make up anywhere from 2 to 12% of this daily total. 64% of the truck freight generated in Nevada, worth almost $34 billion, comes from Clark County.
Hundreds of miles of other highways, including U.S. Highways 6, 95 and 93, run through thinly populated areas of the state. This vastness can create boredom and drowsiness in semi truck and automobile drivers alike, causing accidents.
Hazardous winter conditions also contribute to Nevada's accident statistics.
District 1 encompasses the lower third of the state with headquarters located in Las Vegas. It includes the counties of Clark, Esmeralda and Lincoln, parts of Mineral, Lander and most of Nye counties. Major highways are the heavily used I-15, as well as U.S. 6, U.S. 95, U.S. 93, and State Highway 375. To the west of the district lies California, and to the east lies Arizona and Utah. It borders on the north with District 2 and District 3.
District 2 comprises the western third of Nevada with headquarters in Reno, the largest city in the district. The district includes the counties of Washoe, Storey, Douglas and Lyon, and the independent city of Carson City. It also includes most of Mineral, Churchill Counties, much of Pershing and Humboldt Counties, and small parts of Nye and Lander Counties. The most important highways are Interstate 80, U.S. 50, U.S. 95 and U.S. 395. California lies to the west of District 2, Oregon is to the north, District 1 lies to the south, and District 3 is to the east.
The headquarters of this lightly populated rural district is in Elko, and the district encompasses the northeastern section of the state. It includes Elko, Eureka, White Pine, most of Lander, and parts of Humboldt, Pershing, Churchill and Nye Counties. The main highways in this district are I-80, U.S. 50, U.S. 6 and U.S. 93. The district is bordered on west by District 2, on the north by Oregon and Idaho, on the east by Utah, and on the south by District 1.