June was deadly month on Montana highways

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The month of June was the deadliest on Montana roadways in a decade.

With the alarming increase in crashes, the Montana Department of Transportation is urging travelers to drive safely this summer.

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, the department said in a press release.

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, the state says all drivers 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.

In 2017-18, there were a total of 30 fatalities on Montana roads and the five-year average from 2014-18 was 15.8 per year.

“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.”

The highway department said it 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.

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