Deaths on Wyoming highways have risen sharply this year. While there were 87 fatalities in 2013, there have been 136 in 2014. 61 percent of the people who died on Wyoming highways this year were not wearing seatbelts.
Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says that while seatbelts are mandatory in the state, seatbelt laws are only enforceable after a driver has been pulled over for another offense like speeding. He also says people still choose to break that law.
“The primary reason is it’s an individual choice for folks not to wear their seatbelt," says Wagener. "If they choose not to wear their seatbelt while traveling, obviously as the numbers show they’re increasing their chances of being injured, seriously injured or possibly sustaining fatal injuries if they were in that vehicle and a crash were to happen.”
Wagener says highway deaths in the state have trended down over the past twenty years, even with this year’s spike.