LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On the heels of Tuesday morning’s fatal suspected DUI crash, local law enforcement is doing everything possible right now to prevent people from driving drunk.
Nevada has already recorded 361 traffic fatalities this year, and state police worry this month could bring us to that 380 to 390 mark.
“Now through the end of this year is the largest presence that we will ever put together for DUI prevention,” said Andrew Bennett, a public information officer with Nevada State Police.
On New Year’s Eve, more than 100 officers will be specifically focused on DUI enforcement valley-wide, with 200 statewide.
“New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve, I think the last five years we’ve had nine fatalities,” Bennett said. “But the idea is we should be able to go longer than four hours and 18 minutes before we have our first fatality, which was the case this year.”
DUI numbers go up around this time — New Year’s in particular — partly because so many of us are out having a good time.
“They don’t realize that they’re as intoxicated as they are,” said Tim Jeider, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “And they think it’s just a normal drive home when, in fact, it isn’t. And it sneaks up on people.”
Seasonal depression is also to blame. Some of us have not-so-healthy ways of coping, using drugs and other substances to get through it.
“They still go out living their daily lives, so they’re using and cruising and it causes problems,” Jeider said.
Even with the bulked presence, police are asking for all the help they can get out there. If you spot an impaired driver on the road, you’re encouraged to call 911.
“We want to make sure that folks understand: do the right thing,” said Bennett. “And if you don’t, people are watching.”
The Las Vegas valley averages about 120 DUI arrests on New Year’s Eve.