Drunk driving claimed 9,967 lives in 2014. It is responsible for more than 1/3 of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. Even with stricter laws and enforcement efforts, it continues to haunt American drivers. It is estimated that someone is killed by a drunk driver every 51 minutes of the day.
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Of the 1,070 children under the age of 14 who were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2014, 19% died in accidents involving a drunk driver. Of these, over half were passengers in the same vehicle with the drunk driver.
In Nevada, law enforcement and drunk driving accident attorneys in Las Vegas have taken a strong stance against drunk driving, and it shows in the statistics. From 2003 to 2012, 1,025 people were killed in accidents involving a drunk driver.
In 2012, the national rate of deaths per 100,000 people between the ages of 21-34 was 6.7; in Nevada, it was only 4.6. For individuals over 35, the national rate was 3.1 whereas Nevada’s was slightly higher at 3.2. Overall, the national rate of fatalities is 3.3 while Nevada’s is lower, at 2.8.
Nationally, the 2012 fatality rate for children was 1.3. That year, no Nevadan children were killed in accidents involving drunk drivers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Nevadans don’t drink and drive. Nationally, 1.9% of drivers report having had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel. In Nevada, the rate is 1.8%. Nationally, it’s estimated that 121 million incidents of alcohol-impaired driving take place every year.
One of the reasons for Nevada’s low rate of fatalities is the state’s “Zero Fatalities” initiative. These efforts include increased checkpoints and penalties. In 2014, Las Vegas police departments arrested 4,500 drivers for DUI. That was considerably fewer than the 7,700 arrested in 2012. While police departments’ arrests dropped, Nevada Highway Patrol increased arrests from 1,800 in 2012 to over 2,200 that same year. This shows that arrest rates remain high and law enforcement is working together to keep Nevada roads safe.
In Nevada, a first time DUI offender faces up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Their license can also be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. For a third offense, a driver can be sentenced to up to 6 years in prison, fined up to $5,000, and their license can be suspended for up to 3 years.