At the beginning of this month, Las Vegas Raider’s wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was arrested after being involved in a fatal DUI accident in a residential area west of the Las Vegas Strip. The accident, which occurred around 3:40 a.m. when Ruggs’s Corvette, which was traveling at 156 miles per hour, crashed into a Toyota RAV4. The impact and high speed caused the RAV4 to burst into flames, resulting in the death of its 23 year old passenger and her pet dog. It was also reported that Ruggs’s blood alcohol level was double the legal limit. Ruggs was released from the team following the incident, and In Nevada, a DUI resulting in death is a Category B felony, carrying a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison. In addition, reckless driving carries a possible sentence of one to six years in prison. Probation is not an option if convicted of a DUI offense .
Rugg’s high-profile DUI accident is a tragic cautionary tale of the ramifications of driving while under the influence. Unfortunately, this is one of many tragic a fatal DUI accidents in Las Vegas, and these accidents continue to increase in the state of Nevada each year. An accident similar to Ruggs’ crash occurred on Saturday, November 7th in Southwest Valley Las Vegas when a Tesla, whose driver was under the influence, was traveling at high speeds resulting in the ejection of a passenger. The driver was arrested, however the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.
2021 now marks the deadliest year on Nevada roads in a decade, with the State reporting its 330th death on Sunday November 7th. This surpasses the record set in 2016 and tied in 2018. Of the 330 deaths, sixty-six were pedestrians and sixty-seven were not wearing a seatbelt or other restraint. In addition, excessive speed was listed as the cause of one-third of fatal accidents, and a driver under the influence of alcohol or marijuana has been a factor in more than forty percent of fatal accidents in the State. Through the first week of November, Zero Fatalities program director says fifteen fatal accidents have already been reported— meaning an average of two deaths per day. This statistic is concerning considering there are still six weeks left in the year, and the Holiday season usually increases the chance of distracted driving, drunk driving, and motor vehicle accidents. 
Preventing DUI accidents starts with accountability, and understanding that if you decide to get behind the wheel under the influence, you can die or be responsible for someone’s death. Not only will you face jail time, but you may have to pay heavy fines, lose your license, and even lose your job. The risks of driving drunk outweigh the benefits and it is best to call an Uber or Taxi or designate a friend to be sober and drive.
As a driver, it can be useful to know the signs of an impaired driver so you can distance yourself from the situation and get law enforcement to intervene prior to someone getting seriously hurt. Some of the actions associated with driving under the influence include:
- Making wide turns
- Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line
- Almost striking an object or vehicle
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving at a very slow speed
- Stopping without cause
- Braking erratically
- Responding slowly to traffic signals
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Driving after dark with headlights off.
The Nevada Court’s DUI prevention program has been awarded more money to continue spreading awareness and help to reduce DUIs. The program, which is run by Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court, encourages DUI deterrence through interventions such as breath-interlock devices, vehicular restrictions and long-term treatment for repeat offenders and those who have been convicted. Court officials have reported a seventy-five percent success rate, and they have stated they will continue to target changing impaired driving behavior for people in the program.