Montana residents may find it interesting to learn that road fatalities in MT have seen a marked rise this year. The latest data obtained from the Montana Highway Patrol indicates that at least 14 people lost their lives in the MHP district as a result of car accidents in just over the last six months of the year.

To put that into perspective, the year to date total of the aforementioned 14 fatalities is an astounding 8 fatalities higher than all of the fatalities for the 2013 year for the entire Bozeman district. The Bozeman District includes the counties of Gallatin, Park, Madison, Broadwater and finally Meagher. A spokesperson for the Montana Highway Patrol that is familiar with the data indicated that the sharp increase in fatalities has been the cause of some concern.

Equally concerning is the frequency of the fatalities. Three of the 14 deaths occurred within the span of a single week. They included a 3-year-old who died tragically in a car fire from an accident that happened on the interstate. On that same day an accident involving a mobile crane claimed the life of a 36-year-old woman who inadvertantly pulled out in front of the crane on the highway.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol at least nine of the fatalities that took place in the Bozeman district have occurred on primary roads, which also include two-lane highways. According to a Montana Highway Patrol spokesperson a contributing factor that raises the likelihood of accidents occurring on primary roads is that they don’t have continual passing lanes like interstates– when coupled with drivers needing to slow down and turn onto access points for other roads and for turning onto driveways, this raises the possibility of rear end collisions.

Other contributing factors leading to car accident included excessive speed, driving while impaired by alcohol, and inattentive driving. In fact, distracted driving was the leading cause of auto accidents in the Bozeman district. Furthermore, distracted driving was not limited to cell phone usage but included any distraction such as children in the vehicle. Any individual who has been injured in a car accident due to a negligent driver may want to contact a personal injury law firm for more information on available legal options.

Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, “Montana Highway Patrol: Bozeman district second-highest fatality rate in state,” Whitney Bermes, July 17, 2014