(Cheyenne, Wyo.)According to preliminary numbers, it appears Wyoming’s highway traffic fatality count in 2013 will be the lowest it has been since the year 1945 which saw 71 fatalities in the State.  As it stands at the moment, Wyoming’s 2013 traffic fatality count from vehicle crashes will account for 86 deaths for the year.

The 2013 number is down 34 fatalities as reported for the previous year in 2012 or a 28.3% reduction for the year. These numbers reflect all fatal traffic crashes and reported fatalities investigated by city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies across the State on public roadways.

The deadliest period Wyoming has seen was 1981 with a record 261 traffic fatalities reported for the year.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol’s number one priority as leaders in highway safety is the reduction of highway fatalities.  The men and women of the Wyoming Highway Patrol have worked aggressively in the last year to reduce the number of vehicle crashes and highway fatalities.

Each patrol division has formulated a strategic plan with their own way of reducing fatalities in their respective area of responsibility.  Colonel John Butler, Wyoming Highway Patrol Administrator, also recognizes the efforts from the Wyoming Sherriff’s and Chief’s and Wyoming State Parks who continue to demonstrate their commitment to reducing crashes and fatalities in their areas of responsibility.

It is hard to pinpoint any one program or method that has resulted in the 2013 fatality reduction. The Wyoming Highway Patrol has focused its efforts on education and awareness, including a sustained media effort throughout the year.

Troopers across the State have participated in high visibility traffic enforcement efforts on the three big holiday periods during the summer including the recent Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s holiday times.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers continue to partner with local law enforcement in DUI Task Forces, the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the Wyoming Governor’s Council On Impaired Driving and all initiatives which promote highway safety, especially during those times and events which demand additional law enforcement presence.

Motorists and their passengers can also take credit as those failing to properly use a seat belt in a fatal crash are down by 23.8% over the previous year.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol already is in the planning stages to participate in a nationwide State Police/Highway Patrol and Canadian Provincial Police campaign “Drive To Zero Deaths”.  This campaign is scheduled to begin in late January and the goal is to reduce highway fatalities in each State and Provence by 15% in 2014.

Even though a “Drive To Zero Deaths” initiative may seem unrealistic one traffic fatality is still too many.  ”The Wyoming Highway Patrol continues its commitment to saving lives even beyond the numbers observed during 2013″, said Colonel Butler.

–Wyoming Highway Patrol