64°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Officials urge motorists to ‘Save Yourself’ in summer anti-DUI campaign

As we approach the July 4th weekend, those looking to celebrate are reminded to do so responsibly.

A new traffic safety initiative, the Zero Fatalities Program, is pushing a “Save Yourself” campaign and putting the spotlight on educating drivers on the dangers of impaired driving — the top cause of fatal crashes in Nevada — whether it’s caused by alcohol or marijuana.

“It’s still something we face and it hasn’t gotten better,” said Andrew Bennett, Zero Fatalities spokesman. “We continue to go in the wrong direction.”

This marks the first time the Department of Public Safety is going on a summer DUI education campaign, Bennett said.

“Unfortunately impaired driving fatalities happen every month of every year,” he said. “As Las Vegas comes back and as we see an increase in travel, we are also seeing an increase of DUIs and DUI-related fatalities. That’s why it’s important that we focus on that now.”

The department is using education and enforcement to drive the no-impaired-driving message home.

“We prefer that education solves the problem,” Bennett said. “We make sure people understand the laws, whether they’re locals or tourists alike. That is if you drive impaired you will get a DUI. If education doesn’t do it, then it’s time for enforcement. You’ll see a renewed push for the DUI Strike Team through the summer months.”

Bennett said to expect a major DUI Strike Team push over the Independence Day weekend and through the end of the summer.

In 2018, the latest crash data available, impairment accounted for 54 percent of crashes in the state, Bennett said.

“What is so disheartening about this ongoing trend is that driving while impaired is a choice everyone makes before they get behind the wheel – they choose to put themselves and others in danger,” Bennett said. “It is important to remember impairment is not limited to alcohol consumption. If you consume anything that impairs your judgment or ability to drive, including marijuana, you should not be behind the wheel.”

Impaired driving also has been a major contributor to a recent rash of fatal wrong-way-driver incidents.

“We’ve had recent years that 100 percent of the wrong-way fatalities have been impairment-related,” Bennett said. “The matter of fact is when you’re impaired you make decisions that aren’t sound.”

Bennett said that reports of problems hailing rides with Uber and Lyft may tempt some to take a risk and drive for a night out. But he said people should think twice, as the longer wait time is better than ending up in jail or in a crash.

“Anytime you have that opportunity to have that sober ride home that is our preferred plan,” Bennett said.

With visitor volume steadily increasing and more visitors driving on Las Vegas Valley roads, Bennett recommends tourists adhere to local laws and be safe behind the wheel.

Earlier this month, a 58-year-old man on a moped was struck and killed by a 2017 Lamborghini Huracan driven by a Texas man. According to police, the driver was going 141 mph in the moments before the crash and was later charged with impaired driving resulting in death and reckless driving resulting in death.

“A man lost his life because of that decision,” Bennett said. “We want people to have a great time here and to enjoy everything that Las Vegas has to offer. We’re by no means discouraging that. We want you to have a great time, we just want to make sure that it’s done safely.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Want your DMV fee refund? Be prepared to drive to the DMV

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a $1-per-transaction fee was unconstitutional, and ordered the state to refund the money to motorists.

Letters to the Editor

Reader explains who he thinks the real puppets are

Legendary country, pop singer dies at 96

It’s uncertain how many locals knew that a legendary and famed singer was a resident of Pahrump for over two decades.

Nye County school board approves new tracking system

The Nye County School District school board approved unanimously on Wednesday evening to implement a new tracking system for their buses and students who ride the buses.

 
Halloween a treat for retailers this year

Nevadans and Americans are expected to spend more on Halloween this year than in any year prior, according to projections released by groups representing retailers.

Rhyolite ghost town gets an upgrade with new signs

The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of installing new interpretive signs in Rhyolite Ghost Town.

Beatty High School celebrates homecoming week

Oct. 11-16 was Beatty High School’s homecoming week, including the traditional parade and bonfire, with the addition of some new elements, such as food trucks (Gema’s Cafe and Mama’s Sweet Ice) and a drum circle at the campfire.

Halloween events begin Saturday in Pahrump Valley

Though Halloween Day is next Sunday, Oct. 31, this year, there appears to be no shortage of Halloween-themed events happening in town coming up this weekend.