Wyoming Highway Patrol: State sees more fatal crashes in 2014 compared to atypical 2013 low


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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Fatal vehicle crashes spiked in the state in 2014 although a far lower number in 2013 appears to be an anomaly, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol officials.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1BoCzRS ) that data compiled by the highway patrol shows 148 people were killed in traffic crashes through Tuesday, compared to 87 people in 2013.

But law enforcement officials say data from previous years shows fatality numbers closer to the total for 2014. Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener said they haven't been able to determine why 2013 numbers were so much lower.

In general, traffic fatalities have been on a slow downward trend in Wyoming over the past 20 years, he said.

The state has the highest traffic fatality rate in the country per 100,000 residents. That's due in part to Wyoming's low population and difficulty with victims receiving immediate medical attention in rural areas, Wagener said.

He also said the other most notable factor in fatal crashes is the lack of seat belt use while driving.

"My understanding is traditionally in Wyoming the majority of crashes in are single-vehicle rollovers," Wagener said. "It seems like a lot of fatalities in rollovers involve unrestrained drivers."

Alcohol and drugs continue to play a role in the some of the state's traffic fatalities. According to Wagener, 27 percent of 2014 fatal crashes involved alcohol, 11 percent involved other drug use and another 7 percent involved both.

Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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