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More fatal accidents in 2013 than in last five years

According to a Montana Highway Patrol annual report, in 2013 Montana observed an increase in fatal car accidents over the last five years. The report states that more than 200 crashes were reported last year, leading to 229 deaths. This shows an increase of traffic fatalities by 10.5 percent. The fatal accidents have increased by six percent since last year. This report gives an alarming figure of one death in every 38 hours. It was also stated that during the hour between 9 pm and 10 pm, Saturdays and month of August were the most deadly.

The Montana Highway Patrol's Billings District had the highest number of deaths last year. This district itself reported almost 50 percent fatalities. There were almost 38 fatal accidents in the town of Billings itself, which accounted for nearly two deaths out of every 10,000 residents. Bozeman had the least deaths, while the Havre District was reported to have the maximum.

This year in Montana, 21,155 accidents were reported, which shows an increase of four percent since last year. There were 5,249 accidents reported with 7,131 injuries, a five percent drop from 2012. Out of 442 motorcycle crashes, 32 fatalities were reported. The report states that alcohol related instances were 30 percent fewer from 2012, but the presence of alcohol contributed to 82 crashes while 78 instances reported the presence of drugs. This made alcohol the greatest contributing factor for fatal crashes, and drugs the second highest.

This report shows the disturbing truth of drunk driving and drug related accidents. Although, the 24/7 Sobriety Program and troopers hold the offenders accountable, the culture of drinking and driving in the state can lead to many fatal accidents. Many families may have to cope with the loss of a loved one following a drunk driving fatality. The family can take some time to cope with the grief; however pursuing a claim for damages may help them get justice. The family may seek help from a legal professional to investigate the accident and hold the wrongdoer liable for their loss.

Source: Billings Gazette, "MHP 2013 Report: highway fatalities up, alcohol related fatalities down," Nick Balatsos, May 23, 2014

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