The dangerous trend of people driving under the influence doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Deadly DUI crashes are on the rise across Clark County, and in the state of Nevada.
In the past week in southern Nevada alone there were four deadly crashes.
Two people were killed in a suspected DUI crash on Aug. 28, and a woman was critically injured in a DUI crash on Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, one person was killed in a crash on the 215, and an 8-year-old was killed in a crash by a woman driving under the influence near Eastern and Harmon last Friday.
The child’s death is one of two that occurred over the Labor Day weekend because of suspected DUI drivers.
Alma Rodriguez lost her husband in 2011 after a drunk driver slammed into their car near Primm. She said she barely survived herself.
“It was hard for me,” Rodriguez said. “I was in a coma when he passed away, so when I woke up from the coma they — my family was around me.”
Rodriguez was in a coma for three weeks because she had internal bleeding and two strokes. After a long recovery, the mother of four decided to share her story to help prevent DUI’s in the future.
Rodriguez teaches victim impact panel classes.
“That is my goal; that everybody knows what is the consequence if they are driving like that,” she said.
Since 2009, there’s been mostly a steady increase in DUI deaths. Last year, impaired drivers caused a third of the overall road fatalities in Nevada.
Andrew Bennett with the Department of Public Safety says there was about a 6 percent dip in the overall road deaths in Nevada from 2016 to 2017. The number went from 329 to 309.
“There’s no excuse rather with the availability of rideshare, sober friends, it’s incredible that those numbers continue to go up,” Bennett said.
According to Bennett, DUI fatal crashes during that same time frame went up more than 40 percent.
“It needs to be top of mind,” Bennett said. “It needs to continue to be top of mind cause there’s a certain level of frustration that we know exactly what’s causing these crashes and that’s human behavior.”
What the data doesn’t show are all of the families affected by each and every impaired driver.
Seven years after the crash that took her husband’s life and almost left her paralyzed, Rodriguez is still dealing with lingering health problems, so she has a heartfelt plea for drivers.
“Please don’t drive if you are drunk,” Rodriguez said. “Half of my body is numb and I walk. Everybody see me and say ‘oh, you look, ok’ but nobody knows how I feel.”
Starting Oct. 1, ignition interlocks will be required for all DUI offenders in hopes of preventing more tragic crashes.