Park law enforcement rangers are committed to roadway safety. They hope to increase safe driving practices by conducting vehicle inspections, as well as assessments of driver impairment and awareness.
Safety concerns that will be addressed during the traffic safety stop include drowsiness or intoxication of a vehicle operator, which may lead to inattentive or impaired driving situations, and proper maintenance of vehicle equipment such as tires, brakes, headlights and tail lights, as well as other items. Other safety issues include driver awareness of wildlife near and on park roadways. During the checkpoint contact, rangers will remind motorists to be alert to the presence of wildlife, especially during low light conditions between dusk and dawn.
Drivers will also be reminded that federal law requires the occupants of a vehicle to wear seatbelts. Other public safety issues addressed during a checkpoint stop may include the proper use of child safety seats.
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.
The last time Grand Teton rangers conducted a traffic safety checkpoint, they processed nearly 500 vehicles. Thirty-three of those vehicles were asked to pull into secondary interview areas where approximately 50 warnings were issued for violations ranging from expired vehicle registrations to inoperable lights and failure to wear safety belts. Nine citations were issued for alcohol-related violations and possession of controlled substances.