HELENA — Law enforcement are reminding people to plan ahead for holiday travel, and always make sure to have a sober driver.
According to the Department of Transportation, the most crashes on Montana roads occur during the months of November, December and January.
64 percent of roadway fatalities last year were the result of impaired driving.
Montana Highway Patrol, Helena Police, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office and East Helena Police will have increased patrols through New Year’s to help catch impaired drivers.
“There’ll be quite a few of us out making sure you’re safe,” said Sheriff Leo Dutton. “Don’t be one of those that we have to pull over and as if you are safe. Make sure that you have a sober driver, cause if you provide the alcohol, unfortunately we have to provide the chaser.”
Dutton also encourages everyone to wear their seatbelt, which can be lifesaving on its own.
“It may not be you driving drunk, it might be someone else who has too much to drink and comes across the median and his you,” added Dutton.
Around 30 taverns in the Helena area offer “Home Free”, a program where patrons can get free Uber rides from the bar.
Bruce McCullough, president of the Tri-County Licensed Beverage Association, said the program is already up 2,300 rides this year compared to 2018.
To use Home Free people just need to ask the bartender of the participating establishment to call them an Uber ride.
“There is no excuse to get behind the wheel with the current resources available,” said McCullough. “We don’t care if you come in after drinking at a bar that isn’t participating in Home Free and ask us for the ride. We just want to get you home safe.”