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Motorists urged to drive sober as bars reopen, Raiders open at home

A perfect storm of bars and taverns reopening on the same day the Raiders kick off their tenure playing in Sin City could brew for a dangerous scenario on Las Vegas Valley roads Monday.

Public safety officials are urging fans to not get behind the wheel intoxicated after the Raiders face the New Orleans Saints on “Monday Night Football” at Allegiant Stadium.

Although fans are not allowed at games at the $2 billion facility, Raider Nation will be out in force at bars, sports books and watch parties celebrating the newest addition to the Las Vegas major sports landscape.

After Golden Knights games over the past three years, an uptick in DUIs has occurred on game days, according to Andrew Bennett, Nevada Department of Public Safety spokesman.

“As Vegas has more and more pro sports teams, there is a notable increase of DUIs on the nights of professional sporting games,” Bennett said. “It’s not just people leaving the stadiums, it’s people leaving local establishments and watch parties.”

Despite business shutdowns and regulations limiting capacity in open establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities are higher this year than last year, Bennett said.

“At this time we’re 4 percent increased of where we were at this time last year statewide, which is concerning to us,” Bennett said. “We had months where people were told to stay at home, so to experience an increase this year is a little disheartening.”

The vast majority of the fatal crashes involve DUI and/or speed, he added.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s DUI Strike team had a month during the shutdown where it recorded 77 percent more DUI arrests than last year, even when the bars and taverns were shut down. Bennett believes this is tied to house parties.

“If you’re hosting people you need to make sure you’re a responsible party host and that your guests get home safely,” Bennett said. “Drive sober. The designated driver shouldn’t be the one that’s drinking the least, it should be the one that hasn’t been drinking at all or consuming anything, including marijuana.”

Bennett notes that the cost of a Lyft ride, cab or bus fare is cheaper than a DUI.

“An average DUI in Nevada costs around $15,000; that Lyft ride is a lot cheaper than that $15,000,” he said. “You can get from one end of the town to the other for well under $100.”

Bennett doesn’t want a monumental occasion like the NFL’s kickoff in Las Vegas to be marred by a preventable traffic fatality. To help combat that, local law enforcement will increase its presence Monday night, looking for impaired drivers.

“For Monday’s game this is historic night for Nevada and southern Nevada and we’re asking people to celebrate responsibly,” Bennett said. “I believe we live in the greatest city in the world and we want people to have a great time. We’re just asking them to do it safely, which involves having a sober, designated driver.”

RTC Seeing Orange

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada launched a new customer response system on its “Seeing Orange” website aimed at letting residents report problems or have questions answered by staff.

With over 240 active design and construction projects occurring in the Las Vegas Valley, commutes are interrupted with such projects and everything doesn’t always go as planned.

The website launched in 2015 and after more than 60 percent of all inquiries were related to traffic signals, the RTC added a project map with signals that are currently affected by road projects.

RTC urges the public to let it know if they see something that doesn’t look right by filling out a form on seeingorangenv.com or by calling 702-928-2663.

“In response to our community’s changing needs, we made improvements to the Seeing Orange website, which offers a two-way communication tool for information on roadwork and traffic signals,” RTC spokeswoman Catherine Lu said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our residents and visitors to get the information they need for their commutes.”

Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Contact Mick Akers at makers @reviewjournal.com or| 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.