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Use Your Freedom To Choose A Sober Ride For 4th Of July


As part of the Vision Zero goal, MDT reminds Montana to plan ahead for a sober ride

Helena, MT - For many Montanans, the 4th of July marks the mid-point of summer. A time to relax with family and friends and enjoy the natural beauty of our state – with a few fireworks thrown in for good measure. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as you don’t add alcohol and driving to the mix.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) reminds all Montanans that impaired driving puts everyone at risk. Summer weather, clear roads and longer daylight hours can give drivers a false sense of security, leading them to make unsafe and sometimes deadly driving decisions.

Over the last decade (2010-2019), 48% of all fatal crashes and 45% of all serious injury crashes in Montana occurred between June and September – the period of time known nationally as the “100 Deadliest Days.” Historically, the 100 Deadliest Days in Montana has represented 50% of the annual roadway fatalities involving an impaired driver.

“We know more people are on the road in the summer and with fewer people flying to vacation destinations this year, we expect even more people to be driving around Montana during the summer,” said Mike Tooley, Montana Department of Transportation director. “Montana’s daily vehicle miles traveled (DVMT) is 22% higher during the 100 Deadliest Days and make no mistake, this is a deadly season.”

Director Tooley encourages everyone to plan ahead if they are going to drink on the 4th of July. This can include designating a sober driver, using a ride share service, calling a taxi, asking a sober friend to hold your car keys for the evening or just staying where you are overnight. It is illegal in Montana to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher and the consequences include a DUI charge, having your license revoked, mandatory classes, possible jail time and up to $10,000 in fines. Unfortunately, the cost for the choice to drive impaired can even be serious injury or death.

“Every fatality on Montana roadways involving impaired driving is preventable,” added Director Tooley. “Use your freedom to make the right choice for you, your loved ones and your community and plan ahead for a sober ride.”

MDT is committed to safe engineering and maintaining Montana highways, but crashes do not just happen on the highway. When traveling in town, on unpaved roads, as well as on the highway, all drivers, riders, and pedestrians must take care to be safe. Drivers should always:

• Follow posted speed limits.

• Be rested and give your full attention to driving.

• Keep your vehicle in safe running condition.

• Scan your travel area for safety hazards such as pedestrians and animals.

• Expect the unexpected.

• Buckle up and drive sober.

This is a Vision Zero Message from the Montana Department of Transportation. This and other enforcement and educational campaigns are strategies to reach Vision Zero — zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways. For more information about Vision Zero, contact Janet Kenny, Montana Department of Transportation, 406-444-7417, [email protected]


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