Updated May 25, 2020 - 8:24 am
As more businesses that serve alcoholic beverages open up across Nevada, traffic officials are urging drivers not to get too excited and get behind the wheel impaired.
With warmer weather and pent-up demand from residents who have been stuck at home, the number of motorists and cyclists on the road is expected to increase as more businesses open their doors.
As you set out on your next trip, be extra cautious as not driving on a regular basis could hinder a motorist’s reaction time.
“Safe driving takes practice. Many of us may be a little rusty behind the wheel, so it’s critical that drivers give the road and everyone on it their complete attention,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, in a statement. “Remember to buckle up, drive sober, stow your cellphone and watch your speed. We have lost too many of our friends and neighbors, and we do not want to lose any more to traffic crashes.”
An increase in impaired driving is a main concern as restaurants and bars reopen. Coupled with that is a fear that the public could forgo public transportation and ride-hailing companies because of health concerns.
A recent survey conducted by IBM’s Institute of Business Value found that nearly one-quarter of respondents would rely exclusively on their personal vehicle for transportation because of COVID-19.
Memorial Day weekend also kicks off the 100 Deadliest Days on the roads, as it marks the unofficial start of summer, which is historically a time when fatal crashes increase.
Looking to combat that, 26 law enforcement agencies across the state will partner, aiming at increasing the use of safety belts, ticketing speeders and getting impaired drivers off the road, according to Andrew Bennett, state Department of Public Safety spokesman.
The increased enforcement began last week and goes through June 2.
The Metropolitan Police Department received $20,000 from the state to fund the increased DUI enforcement.
Increased funding was also issued to law enforcement agencies for the speed enforcement endeavor, including $4,000 to Metro and $7,000 to the Boulder City Police Department.
Crews will start a second round of restriping of high occupancy vehicle lanes this week.
Temporary Interstate 15 lane closures will result as the restriping and installation of new signs and pavement markings are carried out beginning Tuesday, the Nevada Department of Transportation said.
The work will create additional carpool entrance and exit points along the 22-mile stretch of HOV lanes on I-15 and U.S. Highway 95 following public complaints about the system, which is now a year old.
Tuesday night-Wednesday morning: The HOV and inside travel lane will be closed along I-15 northbound between Sahara Avenue and Charleston Boulevard from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 4 a.m Wednesday. Also, the Neon Gateway onramp to I-15 northbound will be closed during the same time frame.
Wednesday night-Thursday morning: The HOV and inside travel lane will be closed along I-15 southbound between Charleston and Sahara from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday.
Thursday night-Friday morning: The HOV and inside travel lane will be closed along I-15 southbound between Russell Road and the 215 Beltway from 6 p.m. Thursday until 4 a.m. Friday.
This week’s work is on the heels of last week’s initial HOV restriping. After a final round of work next week, new access points will be added along I-15 northbound, just south of Sahara Avenue, between Sahara and Charleston. Meanwhile, I-15 southbound will get another access point, just south of Sahara, with another just south of the 215 Beltway.
U.S. 95 northbound will get another access point between the Spaghetti Bowl interchange and Martin Luther King Boulevard, with two more access points at Craig Road — one for northbound traffic and another for southbound motorists.
“These additional access points along the HOV network facilitate greater ease of use for motorists, thereby encouraging more carpooling,” said Tony Illia, Transportation Department spokesman.