Cheyenne – The Wyoming Highway Patrol is teaming up with other law enforcement officials from California to New Jersey for a special “I-80 Challenge Highway Safety Initiative" to ramp up enforcement of life-saving traffic safety laws during one of the busiest travel times of the year.
From July 24th to July 31st, Wyoming Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officials serving the Interstate 80 corridor across the U.S. will be cracking down on drivers who are speeding, driving drunk or distracted, or not wearing a seat belt, with the goal of achieving a zero fatality rate for the eight-day period.
Local law enforcement and highway safety officials say too many lives are being lost on I-80 from those who violate the most basic traffic safety laws.
"It's sad to see a summer vacation end in tragedy because someone chose to violate or ignore traffic laws meant to prevent crashes and save lives," said Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Colonel Shannon Ratliff. "For this event, we will show zero tolerance because we want zero fatalities in our State.
This safety initiative targets a heavy summer travel period when the rate of fatal and injury crashes on Interstate 80 is higher than any other time of the year.
Wyoming experienced 120 traffic deaths in 2012. Of those traffic deaths on Wyoming's highways, 44.17% were not restrained at the time of the crash. 31.9% of the fatal crashes involved alcohol/drugs and of that number 61.11% were not properly restrained.
Nationally, in 2011, more than 21,000 passenger vehicle occupants across the nation were killed in traffic crashes. Of those fatalities, 52 percent were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. Approximately 9,900 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, with more than 3,330 killed in fatal crashes involving a distracted driver, and nearly 10,000 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has partnered with the Wyoming Highway Patrol to implement combined highway safety law enforcement campaigns which focus enforcement on multiple traffic safety laws at one time. For more information on the campaign, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.