Just a week ago, two people died when one vehicle crossed the median on a stretch of Interstate 90 between Belgrade and Three Forks. A few days later, another major accident on I-90 occurred where luckily everyone survived.
"Essentially between Belgrade and Manhattan is ten. Manhattan and Three Forks is ten. So it's kind of this 20-mile stretch of road," says Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer. "The majority of our fatalities here recently have occurred here on this first ten-mile stretch."
MTN went on a ride-along with Gallatin County's Sheriff to discuss the recent increase in accidents.
"The number of fatalities in that little stretch that we're talking about, and accidents have seemed to increase a lot," says Sheriff Springer, "I think part of it is distracted driving, the number of cars. No question we have more residents living in the Manhattan-Three Forks area."
Deputies are trained in defensive driving.
"Our guys go through a significant amount of training to try and figure out how to recover those types of events," says Sheriff Springer. "Most of the general public has not been through that type of training."
Other advice he gives: stay off your phone.
"Phones are definitely the primary culprit to that. We see people on their phones all the time and it is with the younger population for sure. And it's gotten out of control," says Sheriff Springer.
The Sheriff points out that there are new safety measures being added to the highway to increase safety.
"You can see here they're putting in these high tension lines and the intention of these in the medium is to keep vehicles from coming all the way across into the oncoming lane," says Sheriff Springer, "so that is something that they are trying to do to help solve this problem."
The Sheriff also blames speed and a hard winter for a lot of crashes. So, be aware, slow down, and—
"Just put the phone down while you're driving. I think oftentimes, when they get on the interstate, they think 'I'm fine because it's just a straightaway,' and I think that's why we're seeing some of these crashes, says Sheriff Springer.