WYDOT urges motorists to use caution when traveling during the holidays

November 30, 2018

Now that the holiday season has arrived, Wyoming motorists may encounter more traffic on the roads, which means they need to continue to be extra vigilant when traveling.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol want to remind motorists they can take measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe this holiday season to prevent any more fatalities.

“Wyoming families can protect themselves and others by always following safety-related measures when driving such as buckling up for safety,” said WYDOT Director Bill Panos. “Wyoming has a long history of helping families, and one of the simplest ways is to buckle up and drive safely.”

Motorists should always buckle up, avoid distractions when driving and never drive impaired.

So far, Wyoming is set to have one of the lowest fatality totals in years. Preliminary figures for 2018 show that Wyoming has had 105 fatalities as of November, figures from WYDOT’s Highway Safety program indicated. However, that number is just preliminary and can change.

Wyoming had 123 fatalities in 2017, 112 in 2016, 145 in 2015 and 150 in 2014.

When looking at the fatalities in vehicles, which is a subset of the total fatalities, those who weren't wearing their seat belt had a greater chance of dying. Over a five-year period from 2014 through 2018, about 61 percent of those fatalities were not wearing their seat belts.

Since 2014, figures for those who died and were not wearing their seat belts have fluctuated, with recent figuring showing a downward trend.

In 2014, 55 percent of fatalities in vehicles were not properly restrained. The number jumped to 71 percent in 2015 but then decreased to 68 percent in 2016. It then continued to decrease to 62 percent in 2017 and 51 percent thus far in 2018. In Wyoming for 2017, the observed seat belt rate use was 84.8 percent, which is lower than the national average of 90 percent.

“No matter if it’s the holidays or another time of the year, we want motorists to always be safe and practice safe driving habits,” said WHP Col. Kebin Haller. “This year isn’t over yet, so we want to continue to stress the importance of safe driving to prevent any more fatalities. One fatality is one too many. We want each and every driver and passenger to make it to their destinations safely.”

Wearing a seat belt is one of the best ways drivers and passengers can keep themselves safe.

“Seventy-five percent of those ejected from their vehicle during a crash die,” said WHP Safety Education Coordinator Sgt. Momen Elazizi. “Buckling up keeps you inside the vehicle and is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself.”

Travelers also can download WYDOT’s 511 app for their smartphones at wyoroad.info to get the latest road and travel conditions.