For the last five years the number of drivers killed on Nevada roadways has fallen. This is great news for defensive drivers, who have therefore increased their chances of making it home safely.

The state had an all-time high of traffic related deaths in 2006 of 432. In 2011 just 243 driving-related deaths were reported, down from 257 in 2010.

The continued downward slide in traffic-related deaths is all part of a series of programs initiated in 2006 by the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. Among the areas they focused their efforts on to curb what had been an upward trend in traffic deaths was increased enforcement of existing traffic laws; installation of center line “rumble strips” which alert drivers if they cross it; road safety audits and more flashing yellow lights; and the new handheld device law which took effect this year.

All of these changes came about as part of the Nevada Strategic Highway Safety Plan. This plan calls for a more than 60 percent reduction in highway traffic deaths by 2015, and eventually a zero annual death toll from driving.

That’s one heck of a defensive driving campaign, but so far, their efforts have been successful. Five straight years of decline in traffic-related fatalities seems to indicate that the state is on the right track when it comes to highway safety.

Increased education of drivers has also been a part of their plan, but most drivers don’t need a defensive driving course to understand what is safe, responsible driving and what is a flagrant disregard for the law and the safety and security of others. Although, judging by the number of citations already handed out to enforce their new ban on handheld devices for drivers, at least a few people need a reminder just how dangerous distracted driving can be.

In case you forgot, here’s yours: Distracted driving is WORSE than driving under the influence of alcohol. Do yourself and everyone who shares the road with you a favor, and don’t do it. Besides, it’s against the law to do it in Nevada anyway.

Image: Paul Martin Eldridge /