The Roundup -

Montana Department of Transportation Urges Montanans to be the “Jaws of Life” and Stop Impaired Driving


The end of a semester, a holiday party across town, bringing in a new year, all great reasons to celebrate this joyous season in Montana. But too often what should be an enjoyable night to remember on the way home becomes one that will never be forgotten. In Montana, December ranks as one of the deadliest months on Montana highways, and the Montana Department of Transportation is increasing outreach efforts throughout the holiday season to have Montanans to do their part to encourage safe and sober driving.

In December 2011, the Montana Highway Patrol reported 19 fatal crashes. Last year that was the fourth highest month for fatal crashes on Montana roads after July, August and October. The Montana Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will increase patrols throughout the season, and this week MDT begins a statewide effort to inspire Montanans to be the “jaws of life” literally to use their power of persuasion to prevent the real Jaws of Life from extricating loved ones in a serious car crash.

Billboards, television commercials, social networking videos and Pandora ads urge Montanans to reach out to neighbors, friends and family to display responsible, caring behavior remind a family member to buckle up, call a taxi for a friend, and volunteer to be the designated driver. Do anything, everything, possible to make sure a loved one doesn’t drive impaired.

“We are asking all Montanans this holiday season and throughout the year to step up and not hesitate to say the extra words or take the extra step that could save someone’s life,” said Montana Department of Transportation Director Tim Reardon. “We have tremendous power of persuasion over our friends and loved ones. Instead of encouraging them to take one more shot before leaving the bar or not reminding them to buckle up, we ask that you do everything possible to get them and yourself a safe and sober ride home.”

The message is clear in the MDT videos. “Prevent Impaired Driving,” a new Myth Crasher video that is being shown on popular websites (including,, and shows just how far some people go to stop someone they care for from getting behind the wheel drunk from shrink-wrapping the car to putting an attack dog in the backseat. Another Myth Crasher video demonstrates that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Similar messages are being conveyed in MDT’s entire holiday public information campaign.

These videos can be viewed at, which also provides planning tips and tools that can help Montanans plan for a safe ride home including texting before a party to plan who will be the designated driver, calling a cab or ride home service listed on the website, and downloading a blood alcohol calculator.


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