This June has been the deadliest on Montana roadways in 10 years. With the alarming increase in crashes, the Montana Department of Transportation is urging travelers to remember the serious nature of driving.

Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer due to the increased traffic deaths nationwide. At other times of the year, travelers often choose to travel less, stay closer to home, and use increased caution. However, in the summer, clear roadways and better weather lower drivers’ guards, leading to increased crashes and deaths involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, pedestrians and bicycles.

Nearly 30 deaths have occurred on Montana roads since the beginning of June, and there is not one leading cause for the increase. With almost one death a day for the entire month, Montanans need to do their part in staying safe. This is a shocking change from the recent past where the trend has been positive, leading to much lower fatality and serious injury rates including one 32-day stretch where no lives were lost on Montana’s roads.

“No death on Montana roadways is acceptable,” Director of the Montana Department of Transportation Mike Tooley said. “Folks are out enjoying our beautiful state and great weather, but people are dying. It is everyone’s responsibility to stay vigilant while on the road. Crashes are preventable, and so is the pain of losing a loved one.”

MDT is committed to safe engineering and maintaining Montana highways, but crashes do not just happen on the highway. When traveling in town, on unpaved roads, as well as on the highway, all drivers, riders, and pedestrians must take care to be safe. Drivers should always:

Follow posted speed limits.

Be rested and give your full attention to driving.

Keep your vehicle in safe running condition.

Scan your travel area for safety hazards such as pedestrians and animals. Expect the unexpected.

Buckle up and drive sober.

This is a Vision Zero message from the Montana Department of Transportation. This and other enforcement and educational campaigns are strategies to reach Vision Zero — zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways. For more information about Vision Zero, contact Janet Kenny, Montana Department of Transportation, {span}406-444-7417{/span}, jakenny@mt.gov.

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