Editorial:

Recent DUIs a ‘sobering’ reminder to think before you drink and drive

Posted 6/6/19

A cold, wet spring has finally given way to what we in Park County hope will be a summer full of fond memories, good weather and quality time spent with family and friends.

With all the fun to be …

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Editorial:

Recent DUIs a ‘sobering’ reminder to think before you drink and drive

Posted

A cold, wet spring has finally given way to what we in Park County hope will be a summer full of fond memories, good weather and quality time spent with family and friends.

With all the fun to be had during long weekends and vacations packed with picnics, road trips and barbecues, increased travel on our roadways is a reality. Not only do people travel in greater numbers in the summer months, many enjoy a cocktail or two beforehand, leading to increased traffic violations and accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “a higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during summer months than during the rest of the year combined.”

A disturbing trend indeed, and one that hits even closer to home with the news that five Park County residents were arrested over the weekend and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; one of the men arrested had a child in the vehicle with him. Ironically, a new summer campaign designed to bring further awareness to the dangers of drunk driving was approved Monday by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving.

Wyoming offers a plethora of outdoor (and indoor) activities in the summer months, many of which can be found right here in the Big Horn Basin. Law enforcement officials will be out in force during this time, with a focus on preventing alcohol-related accidents. According to a 2017 study based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Wyoming ranked first among all 50 states in DUI arrests and fatalities; in 2018 there was a total of 687 alcohol-related crashes. Thirty-two of those crashes involved a fatality. And according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accidents that occur over the 4th of July weekend claim the lives of almost 120 people on average nationally, making the holiday one of the most dangerous of the year.

Having a sober plan for getting home, though it’s mentioned so often it borders on cliché, still bears repeating. Having a designated driver, or having someone you can call in the event of drinking too much, remains the easiest way to ensure a safe ride home for you and your companions. Since Powell is without a taxi or ride service, a friend or a relative will most likely agree to venture out for a good cause.

We would like everyone to have a safe, happy summer, filled with good times and great memories. But be responsible, especially when getting behind the wheel. Don’t be a statistic this year. Have fun, and enjoy time with your family and friends. But do it safely.

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