Highway 50 has a substance abuse problem

We understand Lake Tahoe residents’ determination not to see Highway 50 narrowed but anyone who thinks everything is just fine with the highway as it is, isn’t paying attention.

We’ve reported 11 deaths on the highway since 2014, with a fatal collision every year except 2018, and so far, this one.

That makes it one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in Douglas County.

Even the most casual observer is aware that the amount of traffic on the highway has increased substantially over the past eight years, and people have not suddenly become better drivers.

With long swooping curves and one of the biggest distractions in the United States along one side, drivers tend to be lulled into complacency as they travel between Lake Tahoe and the mountains.

State engineers said people are exceeding the speed limit on much of the highway, which we have no reason to doubt.

Add to that the large number of side roads and driveways, and it’s a miracle there isn’t a major collision every week.

But the literal killer on Highway 50 is its severe substance abuse problem.

We’ve reported on every fatal collision on the highway, and it’s a rare instance that one of the drivers wasn’t intoxicated on alcohol or some other substance as they were speeding down the highway.

That’s a real danger faced by every single person on that highway, whether resident, visitor or someone who’s just trying to get to work.

How many more stories must we write about someone’s loved ones testifying in court about what they lost because one person failed to arrange for a ride or a place to stay because they couldn’t be bothered before they started imbibing.

Thursday is Thanksgiving and today is one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Please, for the love of whatever you hold sacred, don’t drive impaired. That way we’re all back here after the holiday to once more take up the debate.


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