August Crackdown: Expect increased patrols through Labor Day to curb drunk driving

By Cindy Toland Aug 19, 2015

As summer winds down, law enforcement agencies around Wyoming are ramping up enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving. The 20-day Drunk Driving Ends Here campaign is a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb impaired driving and save lives.

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day), law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunk driving.   Last year during the national crackdown (Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, 2014), Natrona County had 45 DUI arrests.

Nationwide more than 10,000 drunk drivingpeople are killed annually in drunk driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities. That’s a preventable death every hour. More than a third of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend involved drunk drivers. Nearly two-thirds of the people killed in impaired-driving crashes are the drunk drivers themselves.

“Too many people think their actions don’t affect anybody else,” said Sgt. Duane Ellis of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.  “They know it’s illegal to drive drunk. They know it’s wrong. But they do it anyway. They make decisions as if what happened to the drivers in those statistics just can’t happen to them.”

Wyoming drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles during August Crackdown. “The number of people who are still drinking and driving is unacceptable,” Ellis said. “Yes, we want to increase awareness for the campaign, but we want the effects to be permanent.”

All it takes to avoid drunk driving is planning ahead to designate a sober driver or call a cab.

The Wyoming Governor's Council on Impaired Driving has made it even easier to get home safely when you've been drinking. It offers a free Driver Sober Wyoming mobile app that helps you find a safe ride home with a simple push of a button on your smartphone. You can download the app from the iTunes store or Google Play.

So remember that there’s no excuse for drunk driving, and if you choose to break the law, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement officers around the state will see you before you see them. Drunk Driving Ends Here.

Plan ahead for a safe Labor Day weekend:

  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver or plan another way to get home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. Or The new Drive Sober Wyoming app helps users phone or text a friend and lists numbers of local cab companies.
  • Use our community’s sober ride program Safe Ride.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
  • If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Cindy Toland

Safe Communities educates on the dangers of at-risk behavior and addresses issues such as drinking and driving, seat belt and car seat usage, and texting and driving. Cindy Toland is coordinator for Wyoming Medical Center Region 2 Safe Communities. Call her at 577-2134 or email her at ctoland@wyomingmedicalcenter.org.

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