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Rate of fatal wrecks in county slightly higher than state figure

Jul 14, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Fremont County had 10 fatal crashes in 2014 resulting in 12 deaths.

A report from the Wyoming Department of Transportation details the dangers of motor vehicle crashes in 2014, showing Fremont County had a slightly higher rate of fatal wrecks than Wyoming as a whole but a lower rate of collisions causing injuries.

Fremont County had 10 fatal crashes in 2014 resulting in 12 deaths, or 2.9 deaths for every 10,000 people in the population, according to WyDOT. Wyoming had 131 deadly wrecks that killed 150 people, or 2.6 deaths per 10,000 people.

Fremont County had 152 crashes that caused injuries, or 37 per 10,000 residents. The state saw a higher rate of 48 per 10,000 residents, or 2,800 total.

In all, Fremont County had 868 motor-vehicle wrecks, including fatal and injurious collisions and those that only damaged property, resulting in a rate of 211 per 10,000. Wyoming had a higher rate of 252 crashes per 10,000 residents or 14,700 wrecks total.

The total number of collisions statewide is a tick up from the 14,600 seen in 2013 and the 14,000 of 2012, but much lower than the highest point in the last 10 years when Wyoming had 17,700 in 2008.

Last year, crashes were more common in urban areas, which saw 8,500 collisions, than rural areas, which had 6,200.

Natrona County led with 2,400 collisions followed by Laramie County with 2,100 and Sweetwater County with 1,300.

Riverton had just shy of 300 crashes in 2014, leading Fremont County. Lander had 113, Dubois 13 and Hudson and Shoshoni each had three.

Factors

Alcohol was a factor in many crashes in Fremont County and the rest of Wyoming. Drivers who drank were more common in more serious wrecks, indicating the substance leads to increases in the severity of collisions.

Of fatal wrecks in Fremont County in 2014, exactly 30 percent involved alcohol, while 37 percent of deadly crashes in Wyoming involved a driver who drank. Fewer drivers in Fremont County and the rest of the state were drinking in crashes that caused injuries, 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Alcohol was even less frequently involved in collisions that only damaged property, which accounted for 7 percent of crashes in Fremont County and 4 percent statewide.

Drivers in wrecks in Fremont County were less likely to use seat belts than their counterparts statewide. Rates among passengers were about the same.

In all crashes, 73 percent of drivers and 71 percent of passengers in Fremont County used a seat belt. Wyoming drivers in collisions used seat belts at a rate of 82 percent, though only 72 percent of passengers used the safety device.

Road conditions

Poor road conditions appear to make collisions less severe as fatal wrecks were more likely to occur in dry conditions.

Overall in Wyoming, .9 percent of wrecks were fatal, but 1.1 percent of wrecks in dry conditions were fatal, a difference of 20 percent. Crashes in poor conditions were less likely to be fatal as only .7 percent of wrecks on wet roads, .4 percent on icy roads and .4 percent on snowy roads were fatal.

Differences were less pronounced in injurious wrecks, but snowy and icy conditions produced less severe wrecks.

Similarly, 19 percent of all collisions caused an injury. Wrecks in dry and wet conditions were similarly likely to cause injuries, and 21 percent did so. Only 16 percent of collisions in ice and 13 percent of those in snow caused injuries, however.

Along with those trends, snowy and icy roads were more likely to produce the least severe crashes, those only damaging property. Overall, property-damage collisions accounted for 80 percent of all wrecks, but they made up 84 percent of collisions on icy roads and 87 percent of wrecks in the snow.

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