Increase in highway fatalities so far this year in Wyoming

WYOMING — The Wyoming Highway Patrol says the number of fatalities since the beginning of 2019 is relatively high compared to previous years.

According to statistics from the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety program, Wyoming had a total of 108 fatalities in 2018, which was one of the lowest in six years.

The Highway Patrol says that number is likely a result of drivers being more cautious.

“Over time the public has done an incredible job helping us reduce fatalities and ensure they stay safe when driving on Wyoming’s roads,” WYDOT Director Bill Panos said. “We feel our messages that urge people not to drive drunk, not to drive distracted and to always wear their seat belts are resonating with Wyoming drivers. However, we can do much more to reduce our fatality rate.”

So far in 2019 there have been 16 fatalities.

This is the 16th fatality on Wyoming’s highways in 2019. That’s compared to 8 in 2018, 9 in 2017, and 6 in 2016 to date.

The rise is likely related to adverse weather combined with drivers not slowing down enough for the conditions.

“People need to make sure they slow down for hazardous road conditions,” said WHP Sgt. Momen Elazizi. “They should reconsider their travel plans if conditions are poor. If they must travel, people should plan for extra time, check WYDOT’s 511 website for the latest road and travel conditions, and of course slow down.”

According to Elaziz, everyone should be prepared, even those that haven’t been in an accident before.

“People think it’s not going to happen to me until it does happen,” Elazizi said. “People need to do what’s important to go home safe. We want the public to continue doing their part to help reduce fatalities.”

Motorists can find information about weather and road conditions at the WYDOT’s 511 website.

Some other travel tips motorists can follow during winter conditions include:

  • Having a survival kit that contains water, blankets, non-perishable food, cell phone chargers, flashlights, jumper cables, and a shovel.
  • Having an emergency first aid kit.
  • Letting someone know their travel route.
  • Having a full tank of gas.
  • Getting a winter maintenance check-up on their vehicles.
Categories: Local News, Wyoming News

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