Editorial:

Help save a life: Drive with care

Posted 5/28/19

People are dying at an alarming rate on Wyoming’s roads and highways.

In a “normal” year, three dozen people have died in crashes by late May, which is a staggering loss. But so …

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Editorial:

Help save a life: Drive with care

Posted

People are dying at an alarming rate on Wyoming’s roads and highways.

In a “normal” year, three dozen people have died in crashes by late May, which is a staggering loss. But so far, 2019 has been on a whole different level.

When a Thermopolis woman tried to pass in front of an oncoming car on May 20 — and died in the ensuing crash — she was the 63rd person to die on Wyoming’s roads this year.

Measured just in terms of deaths, roughly twice as many people have lost their lives in crashes this year as compared to recent years. Measured in terms of suffering, however, the sorrow and grief is exponentially greater. There are youth who will never get the chance to grow up, there are spouses who will never get to hold their partner again and there are so many goals and dreams that will never be fulfilled.

As Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Kebin Haller put it in a video message last week, those 63 fatalities represent 63 families “torn apart, forever changed.”

“This is not acceptable,” Haller said in the Facebook post. “We can and need to do better, Wyoming.”

Unfortunately, his message was quickly outdated, as the state experienced its 64th death days later. By the time you read this, the total may be even higher.

In his message, Haller challenged drivers to be responsible — “to not drive impaired, to not drive distracted, to put down your electronic devices, to buckle up and to slow down.”

The reminders are familiar to us all; everyone knows that you should give your full attention to driving every time you sit behind the wheel.

But, if we’re being honest, it’s awfully easy to sneak a quick peek at our buzzing phone, to leave our seat belt unbuckled or try getting to our destination just a little faster by breaking the speed limit.

It’s also easy to dismiss fatal crashes as just an inevitable part of traveling, or something that only happens to “bad drivers.” However, when driving a multi-ton vehicle at 70 miles per hour, it doesn’t take much for a small mistake or just a brief lapse in judgment to turn fatal. Every time you fail to take driving seriously, you are taking your life in your hands — along with the lives of your passengers and anyone else on the road.

That’s why it’s critical we drive with care.

“All fatalities are preventable,” Haller said in his message, adding that “just one fatality is too many.”

Tragically, we’ve sped well past “too many” in Wyoming this year, but it’s not too late to help prevent the next horrific crash by making good decisions out on the road.

As Haller put it, “Do your part, Wyoming.”

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