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Gallatin County Sheriff's Office prepping for drunk drivers this 4th of July

Brian Taylor
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jul 03, 2024

BOZEMAN — The 4th of July is a holiday all about fun and fireworks. But unfortunately, it’s also one of America’s booziest holidays. I spoke with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office about what they’re doing to prepare for drunk drivers this Independence Day.

I asked Brian Taylor, a patrol captain for Gallatin County Sheriff's office, “The 4th of July is coming up. What are you guys looking for?”

Taylor told me, “Just impaired drivers. So, swerving, inconsistent speeds, weaving within their lane, making wide turns."

Taylor has been with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office for 15 years. He has worked many 4th of July’s here in Gallatin County.

I asked him if the Sheriff's Office sees more DUIs around the 4th.

“Last year not so much. But previous years, a lot busier than normal," Taylor told me.

Brian says last year, the Sheriff’s Office was surprised to have zero DUI arrests on the 4th. But that is a rare occurrence, considering the results shown by a recent report done by the Gallatin County DUI Task Force.

“In 2022, there were 56 DUI arrests in the month of July in Bozeman and Belgrade”.

Hali Kapperud is the coordinator for the Gallatin County DUI Task Force, an organization that works to educate the community on the dangers of driving under the influence.

“I compiled this report, and it was from case documents through full court enterprise,” says Hali.

Hali spent over a year compiling DUI arrest data from various courts around Gallatin County, all from the year 2022. She told me, this full DUI report hasn’t been done since 2014.

Hali confirmed with me, “There’s definitely a spike in DUI reports for all of the holidays that you see, and especially in the summer with the 4th of July”.

According to Hali’s report, the age group that’s seeing the most DUIs is 18 to 29. And they’re averaging a BAC (blood alcohol content) of around .18, more than 2 times the legal limit of .08.

These DUIs mostly occur from around 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. And the locations where they’re mostly occurring?

“Huffine, Four Corners, the intestate (I-90), Jackrabbit,” say both Taylor and Hali.

Which is why for this 4th of July, these locations will be seeing more Sheriff's Office vehicles than usual.

“We’re going to have some extra deputies out on the road this year. Their main focus being on DUI apprehension,” says Taylor.

But Taylor also tells me, the Sheriff's Office can only do so much. They’re asking the public to do their part.

“If somebody sees someone driving that they think’s impaired, call it in. And basically, just remember that it’s not just about breaking the law. They’re also putting other people's lives at risk. Their lives, their family's lives. Just thinking about more than themselves for the day."

For more information on the Gallatin County DUI Task Force and its reports, visit: