Drunk driving fatalities lower in Nevada but still much too high

Drunk man driving a car vehicle.All 50 states have a law that requires convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock systems in their vehicles. This system requires the driver to blow into a device that analyzes the amount of alcohol on the breath. If the driver’s BAC is above .02 percent, the vehicle will not start. Unfortunately, Nevada’s interlock law is one of the weakest in the country, according to the group Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

In spite of a slight decrease, alcohol-related fatality collisions remain high in Nevada. In 2014, crashes involving a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher represented more than 30 percent of all traffic deaths, according to data on the MADD website. A Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer typically believes that this number could be reduced with stricter DUI laws.

Nevada’s DUI laws

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the first time a driver in Nevada is convicted of driving under the influence, it is a misdemeanor. While there are some fees that cannot be waived, other penalties are determined by the judge and may include jail time or community service, license suspension or an ignition interlock restriction and substance abuse education. Second offenses are also considered misdemeanors, and there is no ignition interlock requirement. Driving under the influence is not a felony until the third and subsequent offenses.

The Nevada Department of Transportation’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan calls for a stronger ignition interlock law, and many a Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer may express support for this goal. The hazards of allowing these individuals back on the road can lead to injuries and fatalities.

Repeat offenders take lives

The Las Vegas Review Journal recently reported that a drunk driver ran a red light and killed two teenage girls at an intersection in Las Vegas. The young man allegedly consumed several beers before the fatal collision. The police report listed the offender’s BAC as .169 percent, which is more than double the legal limit. Less than a year before, the man was arrested for drinking while driving and other DUI-related offenses, according to an earlier arrest report.

States such as Wyoming that have stronger ignition interlock laws have very low repeat offender rates. By following these examples, Nevada may be able to reduce the number of devastating collisions that occur annually. A Las Vegas wrongful death lawyer may be able to provide legal representation for victims and family members to recover compensation for the damages caused by drunk drivers.