Labor Day weekend marks the end of the 100 deadliest days on Montana roads, and as the summer winds down, travelers still need to remember that every day can be
a deadly day on the road. As of Aug. 26, 122 people have died this year, and the top reasons why remain consistent; impaired driving, lack of seat belts and vehicles leaving the road. This year Montana has seen a significant increase in deaths from crashes in town and city areas.
“The increase in deaths from crashes this summer is alarming,” said Montana Department of Transportation Director Mike Tooley. “In recent years we have seen a positive trend with lower fatality and serious injury rates, but 2019 has been brutal. My hope is that people are taking traffic safety seriously and are being vigilant, no one wants to put their family and friends at risk.”
Busy holiday weekends can be especially risky with the increased number of vehicles on the road and end of the summer celebrations. Over the last ten years, a total of 43 people died over the Labor Day holiday (Wednesday through Tuesday), and more than half of the lives lost involved an impaired driver.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration age can be a particularly risky factor over Labor Day Weekend: nationally among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2017, 42 percent of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or -higher.
With these numbers in mind, MDT will be working with local law enforcement and the Montana Highway Patrol to make the holiday safer. There will be increased patrols across the state looking for unsafe driving, which includes impaired driving. To keep your holiday on the right track plan to have a sober driver, call 911 if you suspect an impaired driver, and always wear your seat belt.
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, (406) 444-7417, firstname.lastname@example.org.