Holidays in Montana center around family, friends, gratitude, and a lot of food. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weekends with many families hitting the road on Thanksgiving Eve.

National Safety Council¹ estimates 417 people may be killed and another 47,500 seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday period. Alcohol is a persistent factor in fatal crashes. Historical trends show that, on average, more than one-third of deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Montana’s numbers are not good compared with other states; Montana had one of the highest rates in the nation for alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2018, with over 40% of the traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol-impaired driving.

“As of Nov. 25, 2019, there are 171 fatalities in Montana; these crash victims are people — sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and colleagues, not just numbers,” said Director Mike Tooley. “This Thanksgiving holiday there will be 171 empty chairs at the table and many families grieving the loss of loved ones. In Montana, one empty chair is too many and reaching Vision Zero – zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways will take our best efforts. Wearing seat belts and planning a sober ride saves lives in Montana,” added Tooley.

Montana Department of Transportation encourages drivers to drive sober, buckle up and avoid unsafe behaviors this Thanksgiving to make Vision Zero their goal. Saving lives on Montana roadways is MDT’s top priority, and we need everyone's help. Remind drivers to be responsible motorists. Please:

  • Plan Ahead: Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
  • Don't Drive Distracted: Put down the electronic devices. When you're driving, just drive; keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
  • Slow Down: Your family and friends would much rather have you arrive late then not at all.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt: Always wear your seatbelt every trip every time; there is no good excuse not to.

For more information, please visit: www.mdt.mt.gov/visionzero/ or contact Janet Kenny, Montana Department of Transportation, 406-444-7417 or jkenny@mt.gov.

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