Las Vegas Sun

June 19, 2019

Currently: 91° — Complete forecast

Authorities step up DUI patrols across valley ahead of holiday weekend

DUI checkpoint

Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Metro Police Officer Jeff Dean asks questions of an unidentified driver while conducting vehicle stops looking for impaired drivers at a DUI checkpoint on Nellis Boulevard south of East Lake Mead Boulevard.

In an effort to deter tragedies on Southern Nevada roadways over the Labor Day holiday and beyond, an increased number of patrol officers and troopers are on the lookout for impaired drivers.

About 300,000 visitors, about half of them making their way to the valley in vehicles over the holiday weekend, should congest traffic, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and transportation officials.

The 17-day law enforcement operation, organized by Nevada agencies through the “Joining Forces” campaign, began Sunday, according to Metro Police.

“The goal of these enforcement campaigns is to save lives by increasing public awareness about the dangers of making poor choices while driving,” Metro said in a statement.

Additionally, Metro has organized a southeast valley sobriety checkpoint for Saturday, the agency’s traffic bureau said in a tweet. “Drive impaired, get caught, go to jail!”

The Nevada Department of Transportation anticipates packed roads around the Las Vegas Strip.

“We anticipate heavy traffic during the holiday weekend, especially along Interstate 15 and the resort corridor,” said Tony Illia, NDOT spokesman. “Accordingly, we encourage people to drive safely and allow additional travel time to reach their destination.”

Henderson Police advised partygoers to plan on riding with designated sober motorists, in a cab or a ride-sharing service vehicle to “avoid the devastating impact of drunk or impaired driving.”

Noting last year’s legalization of recreational pot, Henderson officials also reminded users that it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of the plant.

“As summer comes to a close, many folks will celebrate with Labor Day barbecues and festivities,” said Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk in a news release, noting that the holiday stretch “is one of the busiest days for travel and alcohol consumption, especially here in Southern Nevada.”

“If you drink, don’t drive,” Buratczuk said. “Enjoy the holiday responsibly.”