SAFETY: Montana DOT continues push to eliminate traffic fatalities

Aug. 16, 2016

State transportation officials report that Montana has averaged 230 fatal motor-vehicle crashes per year over the past decade

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has a plan with the ultimate goal of eliminating fatalities and injuries on Montana highways. As a response to the hundreds of traffic deaths per year in the state, the department is implementing the Vision Zero campaign, which is part of a nationwide effort towards improving the safety of motor vehicle travel.

The plan focuses on four main areas that affect road safety, including engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services. MDT officials say one of the biggest obstacles to improving in those areas is funding.

The demographic with the highest fatality crash rate are between 18 and 25 years old, and Vision Zero’s top priority is to educate younger motorists on safer driving. One way to reach that population is through driver’s education, which at this time is not mandatory in Montana due to lack of resources.

There have been 114 lives lost already this year on Montana’s roads. A breakdown shows 54 of those deaths involved impaired drivers while 57 involved the improper wearing of a seatbelt.