Wyoming’s fatality rate on the rise
One car rollover #1 fatal crash type
by Wyoming Highway Patrol
January 31, 2007
Preliminary numbers for 2006 indicate that the number of fatalities in the State of Wyoming will be the highest they have been since 1982. Indications are that a total of 195 people lost their lives on Wyoming public roadways statewide.
That is 25 more fatals than last year or a 15% increase over year 2005. During 2005 we experienced 170 fatalities in 147 fatal traffic crashes. The 195 fatalities in 2006 were the result of 170 fatal crashes.
The 2006 number is not the highest number of fatalities we have encountered in Wyoming, however. During an eight-year period from 1975 through 1982 Wyoming’s fatal count was over 200 each year. The highest year was in 1981 when we experienced 264 fatalities.
Of the total number of fatal crashes during 2006 the state saw (91) 46.6% of the deaths occurring in one car rollover type crashes. Coincidently, the one car rollover has been the number one type of fatal crash occurring most often in the State of Wyoming for the last 23 years.
Alcohol involved fatal crashes continue to be a problem with an average of 34.2% of the total number of fatal crashes per year over the last eleven years involving alcohol or substance use.
In 2006 one hundred twenty-eight, or 62.5% of the fatals were not wearing seat belts or the seat belts were being worn improperly by both adults and children.
A seat belt survey conducted by WYDOT in June of 2006 in 9 counties shows that 63.5% of drivers and passengers combined were wearing their seat belts. During the month long survey period observers collected data on 23,210 vehicles.
The out-of-state vehicle occupants were more likely to be observed as wearing safety belts than were Wyoming vehicle occupants. Specifically, 82.8% of out-of-state vehicle occupants were observed as belted compared to a rate of 58.8% for Wyoming vehicle occupants.
There is no single one contributing factor as to why the State of Wyoming saw an increase in the number of fatalities in 2006.
The State did see an increase in the number of one vehicle rollover type crashes and an increase in the number of multi-vehicle crashes.
There was also an increase in the number of crashes where non-use or improper use of occupant restraints was shown. The seat belt survey shows a pattern of Wyoming vehicle occupants having a lower seat belt use rate than the out-of-state vehicle occupants.
In addition, Wyoming has seen a steady increase in the volume of traffic on its roadways. This volume is especially notable in the energy impacted areas of the state. Those areas have seen as much as a 17% increase in traffic volume on certain state highways.