CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) - Although fatalities were down last year due to drivers being more cautious, more work is needed.
Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety program indicated Wyoming had 108 fatalities in 2018, which was one of the lowest in six years. However, since the beginning of the year, there have been 16 fatalities, which is a relatively high number that month.
“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.”
WYDOT and Wyoming Highway Patrol are urging the public to continue their efforts to keep fatalities down.
"Travelers in our state are losing their lives on our interstates and highways every week,” WHP Colonel Kebin Haller said. “Buckle up, watch your speed and keep your eyes on the road. All drivers have a responsibility to make sound and safe decisions."
Now that the winter season has arrived in Wyoming, WHP has seen some drivers not slowing down in adverse weather conditions resulting in some of the fatalities this year.
“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.”
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.
WYDOT’s 511 website can be accessed at http://wyoroad.info. WYDOT provides the latest information on conditions to the traveling public on the website. The website also has a 511 app people can download to get the latest conditions from their cell phone.
Besides slowing down for conditions during winter weather, motorists should always wear their seatbelts, never drive distracted, never drive drunk and obey posted speed limits. By doing so, they can improve their chances of not being involved in an injury or fatal crash.
“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.”