See how we’re putting our mission into action
Driven by the death of eight University of Wyoming student athletes because of a drunk driver, Governor Matt Mead created the Council on Impaired Driving in 2011. He gave us three main responsibilities:
- Lead Wyoming’s efforts to reduce drug- and alcohol-involved crashes through research, discussion and planning.
- Identify priority issues and effective prevention strategies related to impaired driving.
- Develop plans for implementing those strategies.
Those responsibilities have led to several council initiatives, including:
A Policy Analyst/Advisor on Impaired Driving
The creation of this full-time position was one of our first initiatives. The Policy Analyst/Advisor works in the Governor’s Office and acts as a liaison between us and the governor. Their other responsibilities include training and educating law enforcement, finding gaps in state policies, providing recommendations on impaired-driving issues and overseeing the 24/7 Sobriety Program, among many others.
24/7 Sobriety Program
Inspired by the success of the 24/7 Sobriety Program in South Dakota, we created one for Wyoming. The program allows people with multiple DUIs to continue to drive and avoid prison on the condition that they don’t drink any alcohol or use any drugs.
Law enforcement monitors participants closely, regularly testing for alcohol and drugs to ensure they’re following the program’s guidelines. If a participant doesn’t follow them, they’re given an immediate, and usually brief, incarceration.
The program is a win-win for Wyoming. It helps improve public safety by keeping potentially impaired drivers sober while reducing the number of people in prison and jail.
Enhanced DUI Enforcement
Another early initiative started by reviewing alcohol-involved crash data, which uncovered the need for more strategic DUI enforcement. We provided additional funding and strategic support to seven counties with high crash rates to increase enforcement. Today, the funding, support and strategies continue to adapt based on new crash data.
Oral Fluid Drug Testing Research
Partnering with the Albany and Laramie County Sherriff’s Departments, we did some research to get a better read on drugged driving in Wyoming. Anyone arrested for a DUI in these counties was asked to volunteer to submit a drug test, with the caveat that there wasn’t legal pressure and a positive test wouldn’t be used to prosecute them.
Although no longer active, this initiative led to a more comprehensive research project that shed light on the rising frequency of marijuana-involved crashes and DUI arrests.
We’ve worked with advertising agencies to create videos, billboards and more aimed at reducing impaired driving in Wyoming. In the video below, we interviewed a Wyoming inmate to highlight the real consequences of impaired driving—both legal and personal.
Possibly our most important initiative is the evaluation of our other initiatives. We asked the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center (WYSAC) at the University of Wyoming to help us answer three questions about each: What was done? How much was done? And are the people of Wyoming better off because of it?
You can download the Evaluation Report for our initiatives here.