HELENA – From November 19th to the 26th, twelve people lost their lives on state highways and interstate roads according data provided by the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP).
The number of fatalities are more than five times higher than the last 3 years for the holiday week with only 2 fatalities a year in 2017, 2016 and 2015.
MHP believe winter road conditions were a significant factor but noted that fatal crashes are are not abnormal for the year.
“We’re still doing okay but it’s sad even when there’s one fatality,” said MHP Sgt. Ben Havron, “With the winter conditions we just recommend people drive safely and slow down.”
2018 year to date is still below average for highway fatalities for the state with 149 fatal crashes and 161 fatalities. In 2017, there were 156 fatal crashes and 173 fatalities and in 2016 there were 166 fatal crashes and 183 fatalities.
Havron urges divers to make sure their vehicles are prepared for the winter, check road conditions before driving and always wear a seat belt.
“The seat belt keeps you inside the vehicle and structurally you’re a lot safer inside of there, in a typical roll over crash than you are getting thrown around.Seat belt use saves lives, it really does,” said Havron.
The week around 4th of July was the deadliest so far in 2018 with fourteen people losing their lives.
MHP caution drivers to plan ahead any long distance travel and never drink and drive.