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Sudden drop in alcohol-related fatalities in Montana crashes

In Montana, the number of alcohol-related crash fatalities has dropped, which is good news if you're driving in the state. If you have been in a car accident with a drunk driver, you likely know that the consequences can be severe. This report of the lower number of fatalities in crashes related to alcohol may serve as a symbol of the way increased laws and changes in law enforcement have helped.

The news states that the Montana Highway Patrol's chief administrator has released an annual report covering 2013; it has shown a massive drop in alcohol-related fatalities. In fact, that drop was 30 percent.

What would result in such a sharp drop so quickly? He claims that it may be a combination of new legislation, Montana's 24-7 sobriety program, law enforcement and the work of troopers on the roadways. He hopes that while Montana does have a culture of drinking and driving, the trend of 2013 could continue into years in the future.

In 2013, there were 229 deaths in 203 fatal crashes. In 1972, for example, that number was much higher at 395. The data clearly shows visible trends that show that most fatal accidents actually occurred on dry pavement during the day in clear weather. Most of the time, drugs or alcohol were not present in daytime accidents like those.

When looking at the data, alcohol was present in approximately 21 percent of drivers. Drugs, on the other hand, were reported in only around 10 percent of the cases. As for motorcycle crashes, there were 32 fatal motorcycle crashes where 34 people were killed in 2013. In total, there were 442 motorcycle accidents with 379 injuries. The statistics for drugs or alcohol in motorcycle crashes weren't available, but the report does state that the presence of drugs or alcohol wasn't reported in over 50 percent of the cases for the entire year.

Source: Hungry Horse News, "Sharp drop seen in alcohol-related crash fatalities" Richard Hanners, Jun. 11, 2014

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