Added protection gives peace of mind |

Added protection gives peace of mind

For a long time now, we have known the greatest and most preventable threat to public safety on the roadways is drunken driving. This month, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department is putting that knowledge into action with the help of a $225,000 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety. With a patrol officer dedicated to enforcing safe driving, we can all rest a little easier.

Prior to this grant, the police have had to split the duties of patrolling officers between answering routine calls and seeking out hazardous drivers. Needless to say, in a town with a small police force, a lot of drunk drivers have slipped through the cracks. The grant will take us back to a time – between the mid-’80s and mid-’90s – when aggressive efforts to curtail drunk driving made our streets safer. That program, which put four cops on the road for traffic enforcement, was cut because of budget pressures.

South Lake Tahoe has a bad record for accidents involving alcohol when compared to similar-sized communities in California. Out of 105 towns our size, South Lake Tahoe ranks second. Our poor ranking may relate to our designation as a border town (Nevada has no curfew on alcohol sales), as a tourist town (a lot of our drivers are unfamiliar with our roads), and as a mountain town (our roads are often icy and precarious).

The addition of a patrolling officer over the next year to concentrate on this problem can only help to move us up in the rankings. For those of us that routinely travel local streets, the added protection promises to reduce the potential for a tragic, preventable accident.

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