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Winter weather crashes make backed-up Bozeman body shops even busier

Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 29, 2024

BOZEMAN — Recent snowy weather has caused an increase in accidents around Bozeman. But did you know if you get into a wreck, it could take until June to get your car repaired?

“We do probably 500 cars a month,” says Shane Winters, manager of Ressler Motors Collision Center. Winters told me that Ressler, along with all autobody shops around Bozeman, have been slammed with people needing repairs after a crash.

“We are booked out kinda into May, but then it does depend on the type of damage and the insurance company,” he says.

All autobody shops around Bozeman are seeing this type of backlog. I called around to shops such as Bozeman and Billion auto body, and they claimed to be booked out as late as June.

So, with the snow starting to fall and road conditions worsening, these auto body shops are only going to get busier.

“The number of crashes that Bozeman Police Department has responded to from Monday to Tuesday at 2 p.m. has been 13 crashes,” says Joe Swanson, Patrol Captain for the Bozeman Police Department.

Swanson says Monday’s snowstorm caused an influx of car accidents, and those 13 were only in the city limits. Montana Highway Patrol reported about 50 other crashes in the Greater Gallatin County area.

But is the weather really what’s causing so many accidents?

“Majority of these crashes, contributing factor was people driving too fast for conditions,” says Swanson.

Winters tells us the ice and reckless driving hasn’t helped the backlog of estimates, but there is a bigger issue that is causing body shops to be slammed year-round.

“The weather's not helping, but definitely the influx of people is affecting that. You know, we haven't really added any new shops in town,” he says.

And if you were one of the unfortunate drivers to get into an accident during Monday's snowstorm, Winters says, “try to be patient, you know; with any of the shops, we’re definitely trying our hardest."