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Montana highway fatalities increasing from last year

Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 20:23:58-05

Montana highway fatalities were at 180 in 2019 as of Monday, which is up 4.05 percent from the same period last year.

The Montana Highway Patrol weekly report highlights data they say is a snapshot in time when considering long-term trends.

According to the report, alcohol, drugs and speed as factors in fatal crashes are all up from last year, but seat belt use has improved.

Highway deaths rose considerably in the Butte district, going from 16 fatalities in 2018 and 24 in 2019.

The Bozeman district dropped from 20 fatality crashes in 2018 to 14 in 2019. The Billings district, which reported the most statewide, fell from 41 in 2018 to 38 in 2019 as of Monday.

“It’s hard to compare one district against another and say oh, fatalities are dropping here. They’re raising here. These are all Montana. We look at the entire state,” said Sgt. Patrick McCarthy.

“We try to identify trends in our own area to try and determine where we should be working and not working and try to you know hit those problem areas more.”

You can see the entire Montana Highway Patrol Fatality Crash Information Report here: https://dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Weekly-Fatality-Report.pdf

Additional reporting by Erik Olson/ MTN News