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Drunk-driving incidents in county decline over decade

May 4, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

First in a series

Efforts to curb drunken-driving in Fremont County appear to be paying off.

Data analysis since 2006 shows a decrease of 46 percent in DUI arrests locally.

Noel Cooper, director of Injury Prevention Resources, a local nonprofit organization, said he couldn't pinpoint one factor that may have reduced the numbers.

Instead, he said a variety of factors may have contributed to the positive data, such as increased outreach, community partnerships and road improvements.

Sometimes, he said, the sudden death of a relative can trigger better driving behavior and change trends in the community.

"It's not often that we get to see a drastic improvement," Cooper said.

"It's an upward battle for prevention to really make changes in communities."

Cooper said he was "incredibly happy" to bring the good news to the Riverton City Council and show the public where Fremont County has progressed related to road fatality numbers.

IPR's primary focus is roadway safety, he noted.

DUI arrests

In 2010 there were roughly 450 driving under the influence offenses in Fremont County. That shrank to 270 in 2013 and 240 in 2015.

The average blood alcohol content also was recorded, as well as the age of drivers involved. In 2010, out of the 450 DUI offenses, 16 suspects were under age.

In 2015, only one was under age.

In 2006, there were 30 motor vehicle accidents, 10 motor vehicle homicides, 11 DUI accidents and seven DUI homicides.

The Fremont County Coroner's office defines "DUI accident" as involving an impaired driver who dies while operating a motor vehicle.

In 2010, there were 32 accidents, nine homicides, six DUI accidents and five DUI homicides.

Johnson & Associates compiled the alcohol and crime reports.

Under state law, a death associated with alcohol or drug-impaired driving is considered a homicide.

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