Photo courtesy of American Legion website

HELENA – The number of fatalities on Montana roads is on the rise.

As of Monday morning, there have been 105 fatalities reported on Montana highways this year. That’s just one less than the number of deaths at this same time last year.

Montana Highway Patrol Chief Administrator, Colonel Tom Butler said if the trend continues, the Treasure State is on track to reach the 190 to 200 fatality mark by the end of the year. Last year, 190 people died on Montana roadways.

The numbers tend to blur the problem. According to Butler, the number of fatal crashes fails to show the cost of human lives Montana is facing.

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“In the blink of an eye, people aren’t coming home,” said Butler. “If we had a single incident in Montana where 105 people were killed, it would be headline-news for days.”

Butler said the most common type of car crash in Montana is a single vehicle rollover.

“There’s plenty of room to live in a car,” said Butler. The problem is the lack of seatbelt use.

“When you get thrown out and the car lands on top of you, here’s the end result for you,” he added.

“People aren’t with us. So that’s the single most frustrating thing for us…it would prevent a tremendous amount of tragedy across the state of Montana every year,” he said. “But people just simply do not make the simple click of a seat belt.”

Learn more ways to reduce highway fatalities here.