Posted in News on May 3, 2018
Car Accidents in Billings, MT
The law offices of Heenan & Cook, PLLC have helped car accident victims get the compensation they deserve for over 40 years. While in recent years, the number of serious and fatal accidents have come down overall, there are still far too many cases where the other driver causes an avoidable motor vehicle accident and injures someone. Looking at the numbers behind the auto accidents, we can get a picture of how dangerous driving in Montana is in comparison to other states, and why Montana ranks high in accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident and need to consult with an expert in car accident defense, call our office today.
Comparisons With Other States
There are three main ways you can compare states to determine which is the most dangerous. All information here is from 2016, the most recent year with complete statistics available. The first is by the raw number of deaths that occur on that state’s roads. Based on this method, Montana ranks as near the bottom at 40th of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia with 190 fatalities.
This method, however, does not consider Montana’s smaller population. The second method of comparison is to count the number of fatalities per 100,000 population. Based on this method, Montana ranks eighth with 18.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
The most accurate information however, comes from comparing the number of deaths with the number of miles driven. Based on this method, Montana ranked ninth in 2016, with 1.44 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.
What is alarming, however, is that preliminary numbers from 2017 seem to indicate that even as other states have improved somewhat over 2016’s numbers, Montana seems to have had more deaths, leading it to rank third in fatalities per 100,000 population.
Causes for Montana’s Dangerous Roads
Rural roads consistently rank as the most likely place for drivers to suffer serious accidents. The road conditions combined with excessive speed often combine for tragic results – with 75% of accidents nationwide happening in rural areas. In Montana, 176 of the 190 auto accident fatalities (93%), occurred in rural areas. Given the number of rural roadways in Montana, this may not be surprising; however, it is much higher than most other predominantly rural states. More than 120 of these car accident fatalities occurred where the speed limit was greater than 55 miles per hour.
You might expect winter weather conditions to be a significant factor in Montana crashes. Over the past decade, an average of 50 fatalities per year take place in winter. While the statistics do not break down all weather conditions, about half of these take place on dry roadways.
When a driver gets behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or drugs, it turns the vehicle into a lethally dangerous machine; 86 of the 190 deaths were involved in an accident where at least one of the drivers was impaired at the time of the accident. More than 50 of these fatalities involved only a single vehicle and the driver was the only occupant.
Failing to wear a seatbelt can turn an otherwise minor accident into an accident with serious injuries or fatalities. Fully half of all fatalities on Montana roads in 2016 occurred where the occupant was not wearing a seatbelt; 95 of the 190 fatalities died in an accident when they were not wearing seatbelts.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself
While there is little you can do about winter weather, and you may need to travel in rural areas, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Especially in rural areas, you may need to reduce speed to be ready for unexpected events on the road. Do not get behind the wheel if you are impaired and keep your friends from driving while impaired too.
Finally, always buckle up before you put the vehicle into drive. Taking this step alone could prevent fatalities in most crashes.
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident and need to consult an experienced and trusted attorney regarding you case, call (406) 206-4831 to receive a FREE evaluation of your case. No fee charged unless you win your case.