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Bozeman sees rise in car crashes, while the state sees rise in vehicular fatalities

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Jul 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-25 16:58:04-04

In comparison to 2020, car crashes are on the rise in Bozeman, while vehicular fatalities are on the rise in Montana.

Within the last two years, the number of fatal car crashes has risen 12.75 percent, according to the Department of Justice, and Montana Highway Patrol. Sgt. Adam Kloster accredits this to the influx of people moving to the area and aggressive driving.

“A quick lane change, following too close, it would be excessive speeds,” Kloster said, noting that the rise in fatalities in Montana as a whole may be in part because of inexperienced Montana drivers.

With two-lane highways, fast speeds, and unfamiliar roads, an accident can happen quickly when a driver is unsure of the route, according to Kloster.

In Bozeman, Police Chief Jim Veltkamp reports that fatalities relating to car crashes within the city have remained consistent with previous years. The true issue facing the roadway is car crashes.

“With more cars on the roads come more crashes. This year we have seen an uptick in traffic, and while it looks like it is due to increased traffic, it looks even worse because for an extended period (of) time, there were so few cars on the road,” Veltkamp said.

The pandemic surely kept some people off the roads, and now Kloster says it seems that people want to get out and on the road, Kloster said.

“Simply be patient. Those who speed between traffic lights, don’t get there any quicker: you still have to stop at the red light,” Veltkamp said.

Last year, Bozeman had approximately 1,260 car crashes (bear in mind, this was during quarantine.) As of now, a little over halfway through the year, the city is pushing 800 crashes. By the end of the year, it could be projected that Bozeman will total approximately 1,400 crashes.