Impaired driving a worry for holiday weekend; authorities plead, warn caution

Dec 28, 2017 From staff reports

One of the most worrisome periods of the year for impaired driving is about to begin, and transportation safety authorities are urging caution and common sense for the New Year's weekend.

"With the holiday festivities and parties taking place, it's essential to plan a sober ride home before ever leaving for the event," the Wyoming Department of Transportation said in a public statement.

"This holiday, as you head out for a night of merrymaking, remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving."

According to Fremont County Sheriff's Department Sgt. John Zerga, alcohol contributes to many traffic accidents locally.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol notes there been 121 fatalities in Wyoming so far this year (through Wednesday), nine more than the 2016 count of 112 fatalities. The figure for the date was 145 in 2015 and 150 in 2014.

The statements noted that 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016 nationally. About 28 percent of those fatalities, 10,497 people, occurred when a driver's blood-alcohol level was at or above the legal limit of .08 percent.

"The holidays prove to be extra dangerous to drivers as more people, drivers and pedestrians are out on the roads," the release stated.

Fremont County law enforcement recommended planning ahead people know they will be out drinking, also urging that a person should "take the role seriously" when agreeing to be a designated driver.

"Your friends are relying on you," the release stated.

Other recommendations for safe alternatives to drinking and driving include calling a cab or ride-sharing service. The Drive Sober Wyoming computer or phone application also can assist.

If anyone needs to report a drunk driver on the roadways, they can do so by calling 332-5611 or 856-7200.

A REDDI report, which stands for Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately, can be made to the hotline number at 1-800-442-9090. The caller should be able to tell dispatchers the description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.

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