Number of people dying on Nevada highways dropping

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Fewer people lost their lives on Nevada Highways in 2017 when compared to 2016.

While the absolute final numbers aren't in yet, NHP says 305 died on highways in 2017. 329 died the prior year. The NHP points to education and enforcement partners as the reason for the decrease.

While the NHP is proud of the numbers, it says it won't be happy until there are zero fatalities.

Lowering DUI deaths is one way to accomplish that.

“They are 100 percent preventable. And like we just had our Super Bowl Campaign, with our joining forces program this last weekend, luckily we did not see any fatalities related to DUI impairment or anything during that weekend,” says Trooper Matt McLaughlin with Nevada Highway Patrol.

Ignition interlocking devices are now being mandated to some first-time offenders here in Nevada. That's in part being attributed to lower numbers of alcohol fatalities.

But the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends lowering the blood alcohol threshold to point .05 instead of point .08. Currently Utah is the only state with a .05 law.

“I think all of us in public safety would endorse such legislation. I think you are going to see those folks encountered who have crashed their cars, ran off the road, or in conversation over a traffic ticket, the alcohol may be enough to suspect someone may have been drinking,” says Chuck Allen, Washoe County Sheriff.

For women it may mean only two drinks, for men only three.

Sheriff Allen suspects drivers may opt to not drink at all, as they won't know how much they individually can drink and drive to meet their particular limits.

But the sheriff says he has his sights on something else he believes will bring down the death rates on our roadways--a higher standard for "Click It or Ticket".

“I would love this state to adopt a primary seatbelt law," says the sheriff..