weather icon Clear

Impairment continues to play big role in fatal crashes in Nevada

Updated November 11, 2019 - 8:38 am

With the holiday season and its parties and family gatherings upon us, now is a good time to remind valley motorists of the dangers of impaired driving.

Impairment continues to be a major cause of fatal crashes in Nevada. More than half of the state’s deadly wrecks involve a motorist under the influence.

Between 2016 and 2018, there were 893 fatal crashes in Nevada resulting in 967 deaths, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Public Safety.

In that three-year period, 55.4 percent of fatal crashes were caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, accounting for 55.9 percent of roadway deaths during that span.

“Over the last three years, there were 494 fatal crashes involving an impairing substance in Nevada,” said Department of Public Safety spokesman Andrew Bennett. “That’s 540 dreams lost and unfulfilled.”

In Clark County alone, there were 334 substance-involved fatal crashes resulting in 360 deaths between 2016 and 2018.

All crash data include fatal crashes that involved a driver whose blood alcohol level exceeded 0.08 percent, the presence of marijuana, a positive test for any drug other than marijuana, or a combination of multiple substances.

More enforcement, education

Looking to combat the long-standing issue, local law enforcement and public safety officials teamed up to have more visible enforcement and increased education initiatives.

A DUI strike team jointly operated by the Nevada Highway Patrol and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has made 1,100 arrests since October 2018 and will continue until there are zero impairment fatalities on Nevada’s roadways.

“We believe this will contribute to a decrease in fatalities involving impairment,” Bennett said.

Another significant way to decrease the occurrence of impaired driver fatal crashes is to plan ahead, he said.

Motorists who plan to use an inebriating substance or are on prescription drugs should always designate a sober driver, use a ride-hailing service or take a taxi or public transit. Also, consult your doctor about the side effects of any prescription medications.

People who think they see an impaired driver on the road should call 911 or *NHP on their cellphone, Bennett said.

“Every time someone chooses to drive impaired, they are risking countless lives,” he said. “Driving impaired doesn’t just mean alcohol. It also includes marijuana, prescription drugs and the combination of substances. Impairment continues to play a significant role in our fatalities on our roadways.”

Boulder City Parkway shift

Northbound travel along Boulder City Parkway between Industrial Road and Bullock Field Drive will temporarily be shifted onto southbound lanes this week.

The change in traffic pattern in the heart of Boulder City is for grading and paving work from 9 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.

Motorists will still be allowed to travel through the area, although delays are possible. No over-dimensional loads will be allowed through the work zone during construction.

Lake Mead Parkway restriction

Lake Mead Parkway will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Boulder Highway and U.S. Highway 95 in Henderson this week.

Beginning Monday night and running through Friday, the stretch of Lake Mead will see reduced lanes from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

The temporary closures are needed for roadway paving as part of a 2-mile, $4.4 million improvement project that began in late September. Las Vegas Paving is the general contractor. The project is scheduled to be finished later this month.

U.S. 95 sign installation

A pair of U.S. Highway 95 exit ramps will shut to traffic this week in Henderson.

Overhead sign installation will result in the closing of the offramps at Auto Show Drive and Lake Mead Parkway during varying hours Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.

Crews will close the U.S. 95 exit to southbound Auto Show Drive from 9 p.m. until midnight Wednesday.

Then crews will close the U.S. 95 exit to southbound Lake Mead Parkway from midnight until 4 a.m. Thursday.

Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Don’t wait to get your Real ID

With just about six months left to obtain a Real ID and with DMV appointments scarce, now is a good time to book an appointment to get one.