“Life Saving Tree” Tracks Nevada Drunk Driving Crashes Avoided

nevada-drunk-driving-christmas-ornamentNumbers are our friends –statistics can tell us where we are and how we are doing with the problems we’re confronting. In the case of Nevada drunk driving, we look at arrest and collision statistics to find out if the problem is getting better or worse. In fact, drunk driving fatalities in the state went down last year by about 11 percent, which is good news. But there are still too many alcohol-related crashes to suit safety advocates.

In order to help the sober driving message sink in, the Nevada Highway Patrol is using an unusual method to point out how many drunk drivers they’ve taken off the road.

Whenever a Trooper picks up an impaired driver on the graveyard shift, an ornament is placed on a tree at NHP headquarters. On the ornaments are written the date of the arrest and the officer’s badge number.

Each ornament represents what might be a saved life.

It’s called the “Life Saving Tree,” and it will continue through the holiday season in Las Vegas. Hanging these ornaments reminds the officers of why they are out there at night, looking for drivers under the influence. It also reminds citizens that the police are on their side in the battle against Nevada drunk driving.

We see so many statistics on the bad effects of drunk driving: the crashes, the injures, the deaths, the arrests, the convictions, and the re-arrests. It’s encouraging to see some good news as well. It counters those who might conclude, cynically, that you can’t do anything to prevent drunks from taking to the road.

Perhaps someone could set up a tree that held one ornament for every ignition interlock installed in the state. That would also serve to remind people that drunk driving is being prevented every day. And prevention, rather than arrest, is the standard for success in the fight against drunk driving.