Some Reno, Nevada, residents may think of drunk driving accidents as kind of a "slam dunk" legal case. After all, everyone knows that driving while intoxicated is irresponsible and dangerous, so it should be easy to prove a drunk driver who causes a car accident is negligent and should pay his victims.
Particularly with the growing tolerance for marijuana use throughout the United States, but especially in western states near Nevada, Reno residents are going to encounter more and more people on the road who have the drug in their system.
The end of the year is almost here and at this time many Reno residents may be in between celebrations with family members and cherished friends. They may be wrapping up holiday get-togethers with co-workers and employers, traveling to see loved ones in distant places and preparing to ring in the New Year with the special people in their lives.
Drunk drivers are more than a nuisance to Reno residents: they are a threat to the health and safety of people within the community who must take to local roads and highways in order to get where they need to go. Drunk drivers cause injuries, financial losses and fatalities. Their reckless actions can alter the course of their victims' lives as well as the lives of those who loved victims who succumbed to their accident-related injuries.
Vehicle accidents with intoxicated drivers are an unfortunate problem for Americans all throughout the country and Nevada residents are not immune from feeling the devastating effects of these collisions in their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1,025 people were killed in Nevada in drunk driving crashes between the years 2003 and 2012.
Drunk driving accidents claim thousands of lives every year. That statement is not an exaggeration. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more than 10,000 people lost their lives in alcohol-related vehicle accidents during the 2015 calendar year. Many of those victims were known and loved by Nevada residents who still carry the pain of loss in their hearts.
The Fourth of July is a particularly exciting holiday when Reno residents can enjoy the beauty of Nevada's summer while celebrating the autonomy of our great nation. It is a time when friends become family and communities come together to enjoy each other's company, feast on cookout fare, and watch amazing fireworks displays in the sky. It is also a time when individuals may choose to partake in the consumption of alcohol, which, under controlled circumstances, can be a safe endeavor for adults.
We have all seen the public service announcements by the government. These commercials by groups, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the warnings from law enforcement about stricter monitoring of drunk driving. Yet, every day, people get behind the wheels of motor vehicles after having had too much alcohol. And, it often leads to drunk driving accidents, and sometimes, to death.
Drunk driving has been a social problem in the United States for about as long as automobiles have been around. Because of the country's penchant for equating driving with independence and freedom, and the history of the manufacture, sale and consumption of intoxicating beverages, especially as a form of celebration, the operation of motor vehicles while drunk also has long been a common event throughout the country. Over the last several decades, however, the dangers of drunk driving have become more and more apparent. Moreover, the political will to curb such behavior has grown such that every state has laws penalizing people criminally for driving will intoxicating.
While Nevada is largely a rural state, there are plenty of roads. Add in large entertainment centers such as Las Vegas or Reno, and there's plenty of opportunity for individuals to drive after having had a bit too much alcohol. When this occurs, it puts everyone on the road at risk of serious injury and death. It is well known that alcohol will slow reflexes, impair judgement and increase the chance of motor vehicle accidents if drivers have had too much. But how much does this happen in Nevada?