BILLINGS- As Montana embarks on Labor Day weekend, a message of caution is coming from law enforcement around the state: They want drivers to stay alive.
As of Friday, the Montana Highway Patrol dispatch center in Helena reported 115 deaths on Montana roadways so far in 2018.
The stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day is commonly known as the 100 Deadliest Days because more than one-third of Montana’s deadly crashes happen between June and August. Montana Highway Patrol troopers said schools are out, the weather is warm and more people are on the roads.
Across the country, law enforcement will step up patrols to try to keep people safe. Montana’s officers are hoping to keep the death toll number from rising.
Montana is down in deadly crashes this summer, according to 2018 numbers from the state Department of Transportation.
Montana saw 63 deaths on the roads from June 5 to Aug. 28, according to preliminary figures from the Department of Transportation. That’s down slightly from the same period last year, when 65 people died statewide in vehicle crashes.
Those living in Montana’s most populated areas are most at risk. Yellowstone County leads the state historically with the most fatal crashes in the last decade. That’s followed by Missoula and Flathead counties, also according to numbers from the Montana Department of Transportation.
However, in all, deadly crashes in Montana are down so far in 2018. There were 129 fatal crashes reported this same time last year in 2017 compared to 115 in 2018.
Montana Highway Patrol troopers say drivers should wear a seatbelt and avoid speeding, distractions and driving after drinking.