June 26, 2015
Public Affairs Office, 307-739-3393
MOOSE, WY —With increased visitation, Grand Teton National Park rangers have kept busy during the past few weeks protecting and assisting park visitors. A traffic safety checkpoint and increased traffic patrols on June 12 and 13, 2015 yielded nine arrests, 15 citations, and 39 written warnings. In addition to this concerted law enforcement effort, rangers continue to respond to traffic violations and accidents throughout the park.
The June 12 traffic safety checkpoint was staffed by 13 rangers and screened 197 vehicles. Twenty-seven of these vehicles were asked to pull into a secondary screening area where rangers administered field sobriety tests and examined drivers and vehicles for safety issues. In addition to the traffic safety checkpoint, rangers increased patrols on June 13 and screened additional vehicles.
A total of nine arrests were made as part of the effort for "Driving Under the Influence" (DUI), "Possession of a Controlled Substance" (PCS), and other charges. An additional 15 citations were issued for minors in possession of alcohol, speed, open containers, PCS, and disorderly conduct. Rangers also issued 39 written warnings for speed, faulty equipment such as broken headlights and cracked windshields, and seatbelt infractions.
Park law enforcement rangers are committed to visitor safety on roadways. They hope to increase safe driving practices by conducting traffic safety checkpoints and increased patrols like these. Rangers also patrol park roadways on a routine basis and respond to numerous reports of vehicles operating unsafely and motor vehicle accidents. In addition to the safety of visitors, rangers hope to protect the park's wildlife. Vehicle collisions with wildlife result in approximately 100 large animal deaths and cause an average of $155,000 in personal property damage annually.
Park rangers have seen a noticeable increase in alcohol-related contacts over the past three years compared to previous years. Grand Teton National Park averages 35 "Driving Under the Influence" (DUI) arrests and 40 open container violations each year. Anyone charged with a DUI faces prosecution in federal court and penalties that can include up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.