On October 22nd, the Nevada Highway Patrol was present on Interstate 11 outside of Boulder City, NV. No, it wasn’t a speed trap, but an on-location filming of an upcoming PSA spot. By coincidence though, they picked an interesting “spot” to shoot their commercial, as Trooper Travis Smaka was only seconds into his message on the role of lights in identifying emergency vehicles when a car in the opposite lane entered the camera’s frame kicking up dust. The sedan then drifted off the highway and into a drainage ditch, which then catapulted the car airborne for approximately 40 feet before coming to a stop halfway up the incline of a side embankment.
With the number of NHP Troopers in such close proximity, the response was swift. Within seconds, both directions of traffic were slowed to a stop and troopers reached the distressed vehicle to find a driver and passenger who had only minor injuries. Luckily for the two individuals, wearing their seatbelts kept them from suffering anything life-threatening. “This highlights the dangers troopers face every day while they patrol the freeways and also shows you how dangerous drowsy driving can be,” stated the Highway Patrol in a Facebook post—the same place you can witness the wreck in action by viewing this video footage.
It is believed that the driver of the vehicle was driving drowsy, a bad habit that accounts for 100,000 car crashes and 1,500 deaths per year—according to 2018 government stats. It is an issue that’s on the rise in recent years, and many states are enacting legislation intent on combating the trend. This not only includes awareness and educational initiatives, but also laws that categorize the offense the same as intoxicated or impaired driving. Currently, Nevada has no such efforts against drowsy driving.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.