A young man’s decision to drink and drive led to the untimely death of a 21-year-old Reno woman. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that soon after emergency crews extracted the woman from the smashed vehicle and rushed her to the hospital, she was declared dead. The woman had been the passenger in a Honda, which was traveling westbound. As the vehicle attempted to make a left-hand turn, a speeding Mustang driving eastbound struck the vehicle on the passenger side. The impact ultimately took the woman’s life. The 19-year-old driving the Mustang was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol causing death.
Unfortunately, these accidents are not uncommon. Driver negligence in Reno and around the country claims the lives of thousands of innocent people every year. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately 10,322 people were killed in tragic motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers in 2012 alone. In Nevada, 82 people lost their lives in drunk driving car accidents that same year, accounting for 32 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in the state. The drunk driving fatality rate increased by a surprising 17 percent from 2011.
The dangers of drunk driving
The bright lights of Reno attract people who are out looking for a good time. While it isn’t illegal for people to have a few drinks when enjoying a night on the town, it is against the law to get behind the wheel after doing so. This negligent behavior endangers the lives of everyone else on the road. According to MADD, people who drive with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent or higher, may have difficulty concentrating, controlling their speed and detecting danger. They may also experience a decreased reaction time to hazards, which may result in a fatal accident.
Finding a solution
Although it is unknown as to whether the 19-year-old man involved in the accident has prior DUIs on his record, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that first-time DUI offenders have actually driven drunk at least 80 times before they are arrested. It is also highly likely that convicted DUI offenders will continue to drive, even if they have a suspended driver’s license.
In order to stop this deadly chain of events, many states are requiring all convicted drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. MADD reported that Nevada has some of the weakest interlock device laws in the nation, and that strengthening these laws may result in a significant decrease in the DUI fatality rate.
Stricter DUI legislation in Nevada may help to deter driver negligence by holding people responsible for their actions.