DUI-Related Accidents in Decline

DUI-Related Accidents in Decline

The state of Nevada is beginning to see the favorable effects of tougher DUI laws:  the number of DUI fatalities in the state is in decline.  Just twenty years ago, nearly 70 percent of all traffic fatalities were alcohol related in the state of Nevada, which has always had a higher rate of DUI fatalities than the national average.  In 2004, Nevada’s DUI fatality rate fell to 39 percent, the current national average for alcohol related traffic fatalities.  In 2003, Nevada’s rate of alcohol related accidents was 49 percent. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines an alcohol-related accident as one that involves a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian with a measurable amount of alcohol in their system at the time of the accident.  The national average has stayed relatively consistent at 40 percent of all fatal accidents involving an individual under the influence of alcohol.  Nevada’s rate has been consistently declining, with spiked increases a few years. 

Many traffic safety experts in the state are crediting better education and tougher DUI laws as the reason for the decline in alcohol related traffic deaths.  Prior to 2003, Nevada’s legal blood alcohol limit was 0.10 percent BAC.  Nationally, the BAC limit at which one is considered impaired is 0.08 percent.  Nevada lowered its limit to 0.08 percent in 2003.  Local law enforcement agencies in the state also receive incentives to conduct certain DUI enforcement activities.  Some officials in the state have expressed interest in joining a national campaign against drunk drivers. 

While Nevada officials say there is no “magic bullet” to reduce alcohol-related accidents, tougher DUI laws are certainly an integral factor. 

Many states have adopted tougher DUI laws in response to public pressure and alarming accident rates across the nation.  While these laws have tightened down on all offenders, repeat offenders have been the particular focus of many DUI laws.  DUI laws provide tougher penalties for all individuals who drive under the influence, and give law enforcement more incentives to catch these offenders. 

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