If Northern Nevadans were out Wednesday filling their bellies with corned beef and green beer in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, you couldn't tell it from the drivers on the road, said Trooper Chuck Allen.
"The Nevada Highway Patrol did not have to respond to a single accident on the highways in the Reno-Sparks area from 5 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday," he said.
In addition to regularly scheduled troopers, two extra officers were assigned to scour the streets for impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32 percent of all traffic fatalities on the nation's highways around St. Patrick's Day in 2003 were the result of impaired drivers.
But all that precaution was for naught, as only six people were arrested for drunken driving. Troopers were instead kept busy writing 21 speeding tickets, 12 other citations, and only one person got busted cruising along without a seat belt.
"And we expected a lot more DUIs this year because Sparks turned 100 years old this week, and the Nugget turned 50, so there were some fairly large celebrations going on in addition to St. Patrick's Day," Allen said.
Lyon County deputies made only one DUI arrest and in Carson City, deputies picked up another.
Nationally, more than 17,000 people died in alcohol-related highway crashes during 2003. Every 30 minutes, nearly 50 times a day, someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash. Hundreds of thousands more are injured each year. According to traffic safety administration, about three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.