Nevadans can choose not to drive drunk |

Nevadans can choose not to drive drunk

In 2006, 432 people died on Nevada’s roadways, 142 in some way the victim of a driver driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level at .08 or above.

It is beyond understanding.

Accidents happen. But drinking and driving is no accident. It’s a choice. A choice that was fatal 142 times in the last year. Fatal 135 times the year before.

It’s a choice that takes a costly toll in human lives. A choice that is also costing taxpayers millions.

A nationwide advertising campaign is about to kick off as part of an effort to reduce alcohol-related accidents over Labor Day weekend: “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”

That’s $11 million just in advertising. Add to that the cost of overtime, gasoline, tires etc. and it adds up to more money than most can fathom. But money never adds up to the cost of a wasted life.

Nevada is in good company: 21 other states in the last year have also seen more people die on their highways in DUI-related deaths.

In the other 28 states, the rate of DUI-related deaths has declined. Overall, the number of DUI-related fatalities on American roadways has also dropped with 112 fewer people dying in 2006 than in 2005.

We say that if 28 other states can do it Nevada can do it too. For once, Nevada’s near the good end of a bad list, with an increase of 5.2 percent in alcohol-related traffic deaths between 2005 and 2006. Utah tops the bad list with an increase of 63.6 percent. But it’s all in how you look at the numbers – 54 people died in Utah’s DUI-related deaths, 21 more than in 2005.

It’s our choice.