Drunk drivers beware

If you think you can get away with drunk driving after the game this weekend, think again. Law enforcement officials from three states — Wyoming, Utah and Idaho — are joining Friday-Sunday to crack down on drunk and impaired driving. This three-state effort is in conjunction with the University of Wyoming’s football game against Boise State University on Saturday.

Officials from the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Idaho State Police and Utah Highway Patrol will be increasing and focusing their enforcement on U.S. Interstates 80 and 84 — the main route from Boise to Laramie.

“Not that we anticipate a lot of people driving impaired all the way from Boise,” Pete Abrams, law enforcement liaison for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said. “That’s certainly not our expectation. But in and around the game, that’s more of a likelihood.”

Abrams said the different states will pair up for important weekends like this one or the “Border War” initiative with Colorado during the football game against Colorado State University each year. The departments make various media efforts to educate the public on the importance of seat belts or not driving while distracted or intoxicated. Abrams said the officials try to time these events strategically.

“So, this is a big game in Laramie,” Abrams said. “It’s going to generate a great deal of media interest and coverage. We had a window after Labor Day where we didn’t want to lose any momentum, so we wanted to piggy back the football game itself to increase the awareness.”

Abrams said recent reports have shown 26 fewer road fatalities in 2018 compared to this time last year. Although he thinks programs like these are effective in combatting road fatalities, Abrams admitted that the numbers tend to cycle from year to year.

“It’s encouraging,” Abrams said. “But having history and understanding it, I know that we could be below 100 this year and at 125 next year. There are so many factors. … I don’t have a reason for it, but our answer always is we are constantly at work to reverse upward trends and try to keep fatalities as low as we can within what we can do.”

Citizens can help this effort by calling the Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately hotline number at 1-800-442-9090 to report suspected drunk drivers on the roads. When calling, be sure to provide the dispatcher with a vehicle description, location and direction of travel. Calling 911 is also an option.

“Of course, we do these operations with only one goal in mind,” Abrams said. “It’s very simple. We want zero fatalities on those roadways.”

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