Posted on: March 18, 2022, 08:17h.
Last updated on: March 18, 2022, 08:17h.
Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), and other local police forces are on the watch this weekend for suspected intoxicated drivers. The selective enforcement, called “Joining Forces,” continues through Tuesday. Arrests are likely.
The initiative started on Thursday. That was St. Patrick’s Day — a popular day to drink alcohol. Bars and lounges are expected to continue to serve more alcohol than usual during this weekend.
The stepped-up patrol comes as Las Vegas and other communities are facing incidents of motorists driving while intoxicated. Some end in tragedy.
DUI Accidents Seen in Southern Nevada
Last year alone, 50 people died in DUI-related accidents in the area of Southern Nevada where the LVMPD patrols, according to KLAS, a local TV station. Metro cops say on average they charged 14 drivers a day for DUI during 2021.
For example, in November 2020, a 43-year-old woman died from her injuries after the SUV she was in crashed into a wall at the Paris Hotel & Casino parking garage located on the Las Vegas Strip. Physicians tried to save the passenger, but she later died from “blunt force injury to the chest” suffered in the collision, KLAS said.
LVMPD later arrested the driver of the SUV for allegedly driving under the influence, KLAS said. He was identified as Scott Thomas, 39, of Montclair, Calif., KTNV, another Las Vegas TV station, reported.
The accident came a decade after a 2010 study published in the Journal of Health Economics, which stated that “there is a strong link between the presence of a casino in a county and the number of alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents.”
To prevent these kinds of injuries and fatalities, on Thursday, the NHP tweeted: “If you’ve been drinking, call a sober friend, taxi, or rideshare to get you home safely.”
There’s no excuse ever to drive impaired,” added Trooper Ashlee Wellman, NHP’s public information officer, in a statement to KLAS. “We will be out there in numbers. Really present, to try and make sure we can prevent any other fatalities from happening.”
Fines, Jail, Suspended Licenses
In Nevada, if a motorist is convicted on a DUI count there are extensive penalties even on the first charge. The defendant may spend anywhere from two days to six months in jail or face 48 to 96 hours of community service.
The motorist also can get fined anywhere between $400 and $1,000, not including court costs. Also, those convicted may end up getting a six-month suspension of their driver’s license.
Motor vehicle crashes also are a leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They kill on average over 100 people daily, the CDC said. But they are preventable.
Beyond DUI, Joining Forces will also patrol for distracted driving, pedestrian safety, speeding, and seat belt use. Next month, NHP will conduct an initiative on preventing distracted drivers.