More drivers on the road means a few things, more people not following the rules and more crashes.
Montana Highway Patrol troopers are seeing more fender benders on the interstate and fast roads like Jackrabbit Lane.
Even with construction making Jackrabbit a four-lane road, Montana Highway Patrol officers still have seen a hike in the number of crashes this year.
That includes at the Valley Center Road intersection.
Trooper Brad Moore refers to it using Murphy’s Law: if it can happen, it will.
This is a familiar scene along the stretch of road that connects Four Corners and Belgrade: twisted metal and crosses just off the shoulder.
“We have to be that much more paying attention,” Moore says. “We have to be bringing our A-game out here.”
Moore adds as growth grows, so does the number of drivers, including the number of drivers who ignore the rules.
“There’s a lot of other people that want to live here, too, and I get it. I came from somewhere, too,” Moore says. “The Department of Transportation has given those warnings, the flashing ‘hey, heads up, this lights going to be changing.’”
The danger doesn’t stop with Jackrabbit.
Moore points to the stretch of interstate between Belgrade and Bozeman as having these issues, too.
“We have big volume of traffic between Bozeman and Belgrade in the morning,” Moore says. “I’m seeing vehicles following too closely. I’m seeing people exit suddenly. People have a lot of things on their mind.”
Many have contacted MTN News about red light runners at Jackrabbit and Valley Center, something we wanted to check out.
Within 15 minutes of watching the intersection, several pushed through, driving through the red.
Moore says this could end in tragedy.
“It happens because we don’t hear about those ones because those are close calls and nobody gets hurt and we don’t have a crash,” Moore says.
And while it hasn’t happened in a while, he adds the increased volume increases the chances.
“Murphy’s (law) always out there,” Moore says. “Murphy’s always looking for an excuse to try to jam you up and we gotta fight Murphy all the time.”
According to the latest report from MHP, as of this week, there have been 101 deadly crashes in the state this year, up three from last year at this time.