Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Highway department releases annual report


The 2018 Annual Report from the Montana Department of Transportation once again showed alarming statistics involving deaths related to drugs and alcohol.

In the report, Montana Highway Patrol Colonel Tom Butler said the 2018 data suggest "Driving Under the Influence" as a serious contributing circumstance in fatal crashes.

The report showed 182 fatalities statewide in 2018, with alcohol listed as a contributing circumstance in 72 of the fatal crashes. Drugs were listed as a factor in 70 of the fatal crashes. Reckless driving was reported as a contributing factor in 35 of the fatal crashes, inattentive driving was reported in 31, and driving too fast for conditions was reported in 21.

Nine of the fatalities occurred in Gallatin County and a total of 21 in MDOT District 7 that includes Gallatin, Madison, Broadwater, Park and Meagher Counties.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said as a life-long Montanan, he is proud to call this place home, but it is time for a wakeup call when it comes to the statewide DUI problem.

Drinking and driving is a huge problem in the state of Montana.

"Unfortunately, some Montanans are still in denial. Nowhere is that more evident than in the halls of the state legislature, where every attempt to strengthen our DUI laws has been an uphill battle. I've been fighting that battle for more than six years, and I will continue to do so. We can't give up. This is our home, these are our roads, and the blood spilled upon them because of DUI belongs to our loved ones," he said.

Butler also discussed how the MHP is continuing to build their Drug Enforcement Program.

"We recognize the high importance of our role in battling the drug crisis in our state, and we continue to allocate resources in this area. Over the past five years we have seen a disturbingly steady trend in increased contact with, and seizures of illegal substances on our roadways, and we remain committed to this fight," he said.


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