A nationwide "100 Deadliest Days of Summer" slogan has gained traction, in the hopes of spreading awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence and the fatalities that may follow.
The Montana Department of Transportation says that our state has one of the highest fatality rates in the nation for number of deaths caused by impaired drivers per vehicle mile traveled.
With that said, the current number of fatalities on Montana highways was 54 on June 8, 2022; last year at this time it was 82.
“Currently to date, we have 34 percent less fatalities here in Montana, that’s fantastic,” Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson said.
Nelson has been working for 24 years with the Montana Highway Patrol and has seen firsthand the devastation and impact impaired driving has on the person, their family, and the community.
“We see what many people only have nightmares about, and we see it on a regular basis,” Nelson said.
While the number of fatalities in Montana is seeing a falling trend, Nelson reminds us that the summer months continue to see higher numbers of DUI stops. He notes that more shifts are becoming available to troopers, specifically for DUI investigations.
Spreading education and awareness is important to Nelson, and Anna Ewen as well. Ewen is a former teacher, who is now the Coordinator for the Gallatin County DUI Task Force.
“We are rebuilding,” Ewen said. “Summer is a really busy season for DUIs; we have a lot of tourists coming into Montana, coming to see our beautiful state.”
Ewen is looking for about four to five members from Gallatin County, especially people from the communities of Manhattan and Three Forks, to join the task force. Volunteers are also welcome to join the force and help members spread awareness, education, and prevention methods around the county.
To get more information on the task force, head over to its website.