LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) held a virtual “First Tuesday” event on February 2 at 4 p.m. to discuss traffic-related issues in the valley.
Metro says they were able to reduce impaired driving fatalities by 54% due to an increase in DUI Blitz programs, which a collaborative effort between all jurisdictions in Clark County. Their goal is to identify, detect, locate and apprehend drunk drivers. Fifty to sixty officers are focused solely on these efforts.
In 2020, DUI Blitz programs were increased from quarterly to monthly. During holiday seasons, starting in October 2020, they increased the program to twice a month, resulting in 381 impaired driving arrests and over a thousand stops with 500-600 citations issued.
The DUI Strike Team, a collaborative effort between NHP and LVMPD increased to seven-day coverage. The team is approaching 2,700 arrests of DUI drivers since they started two years ago.
Regarding patrol, several area commands received advanced training to identify and detect impaired drivers.
“This translated into saving lives,” said LVMPD Traffic Captain Bledsoe.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2021, LVMPD is partnering with the city and county on DUI warrants. There will be 13 apprehension teams to arrest people with DUI warrants, according to Bledsoe.
“So, this is your warning right now, if you have a DUI warrant, please, get that warrant squashed…because I have approximately 15 apprehension teams available to me that are going to go out…and start arresting people with DUI warrants,” added Captain Bledsoe looking to make roads safer.
During the virtual event, it was announced that there is a AB10 proposal on vehicular manslaughter to increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor, which would result in more jail time.
LVMPD Traffic Captain Daniel Bledsoe, who has served Metro for 22-years, answered Metro’s most asked questions on the following topics:
- Factors behind car wrecks and fatalities
- The latest efforts to crack down on DUIs
- Plans for school zones now that many schools are closed
SLOW DOWN WHEN DRIVING
Captain Bledsoe addressed challenges drivers can face if they decide speed. He shared that if you are traveling at 45 miles per hour, your reactionary time plus the time it takes your vehicle to stop means you can travel 196 feet before your vehicle actually stops.
According to Bledsoe, Las Vegas intersections are 88 feet, meaning you have already ran the intersection whether you are impaired or not. Even worse, it can result in a fatality, as it did in yesterday’s motorcycle fatality where police say speed played a factor.
Drivers are reminded that the two seconds it takes to look down and check a message on a mobile devices increases a driver’s reactionary time. When they realize then realize they need to stop their vehicle, there may be enough time to avoid an accident. This could cost your life or the life of someone else.
Tips to avoid distracted driving include:
- Turn off your mobile phone
- Set your phone to send an auto-message when you’re driving
- Arrange for your passenger to make calls for you
- Pull over, park safely and then make a call
- Buckle your children in their carseat properly
- Secure pets so they don’t distract you from the road, reaching for them can cause an accident
- You should be driving hands-free, even if you are at a red light waiting for a light to turn green
Parents were encouraged to visit the Zero Fatalities website to teach their teenage children about safe driving habits early.
Last year, Las Vegas experienced 40 pedestrian fatalities. The pedestrian was at fault for 27 of those fatalities.
- Don’t jaywalk, stay in the crosswalk until you reach the sidewalk
- Pay attention to and obey traffic control light and audio cues
- Refrain from using your mobile phone while crossing the road
- Make eye-contact with the driver before crossing in front of their vehicle
- Do not dart into traffic, a driver may not see you
- Use the intersection and cross safely
- Please hold the hand of children when crossing the roadway, they may become distracted
Captain Bledsoe says Charleston Boulevard, Maryland Parkway, Boulder Highway have all presented problems with pedestrian safety.
Metro urged drivers to slow down and keep an eye out for pedestrians, children and speeders. 2020 has been the worst year for pedestrian fatalities, according to police. Traffic records show LVMPD as the only jurisdiction that reduced traffic-related fatalities, all others increased.
The virtual updated included mention of the “Reckless Driving Project” which gives LVMPD the ability to scan a license plate and followup with a knock on the driver’s door.
SCHOOL ZONE FLASHING LIGHTS
The lights are still flashing because children are still out on the roads with their bikes before going home for their virtual learning sessions. Teachers are coming and going from their schools because students are returning to school next month.
Metro asks that they public observe these flashing school zone lights and to adjust their driving speed accordingly because there will soon be an increase of children walking in those areas.
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY CELEBRATION
Captain Bledsoe says up to seventy officers will be out for Super Bowl Sunday with plenty of additional enforcement around the valley.
LVMPD is asking people to utilize rideshare companies to avoid driving under the influence. DUI arrest fines can range from $10,000 to $15,000.
During the pandemic, LVMPD began live-streaming the normally in-person “First Tuesday” event to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Please check back for next month’s virtual update.