Traffic fatalities down this year

Dec 7, 2011

The number of fatalities on Wyoming’s highways is down six percent compared to this time last year.

So far, 127 people have died in accidents in Wyoming this year, with four deaths occurring around the Thanksgiving holiday. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Troy McLees says those numbers should be even lower, but also thinks winter driving habits in the state are beginning to improve. McLees attributes the decrease in fatalities this year in part to new signs posted along Interstate 80.

"I think the variable speed limit signs, and the big message signs we have on our interstates, is helping, and is making people aware that the reduced speeds that we’re posting is there for a reason and not just because we want to make peoples’ lives miserable as they’re driving across our state," McLees said.

The new signs allow the Wyoming Department of Transportation to drop the speed limit to as low as 30 or 35 miles per hour, depending on road conditions. WYDOT says statistics show that unsafe speed is a factor in more than 70 percent of wintertime crashes.