Roadway fatalities down in Montana for 2012

2013-02-04T12:30:00Z 2013-02-05T07:50:04Z Roadway fatalities down in Montana for 2012Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette

The number of people who died in crashes on Montana roadways dropped more than 2 percent in 2012.

According to figures released Monday by the Montana Highway Patrol, 204 people died in 191 crashes in 2012, down from 209 deaths in 187 crashes in 2011.

Last year saw a 14 percent increase in deaths on interstates from 2011 and a 15 percent bump in rural roadway deaths, but it also saw deaths decrease on primary roads by about 29 percent and by 42 percent on urban roads.

The MHP also reported that the number of fatal crashes in which alcohol was a factor increased 18 percent, from 44 in 2011 to 52 in 2012. Those crashes resulted in 56 deaths last year and 50 the year before, a 12 percent jump.

The biggest increase in fatal crashes last year came from those involving motorcycles. According to the report, 2012 saw 28 crashes, an increase of more than 47 percent. Thirty people died in those crashes, up nearly 43 percent from 2011.

The number of deadly crashes involving pedestrians, and the number of people who died in those crashes, dropped significantly in 2012. Last year, seven people died in seven crashes, while 15 people died in 13 incidents in 2011.

In 154 of last year's 191 fatal crashes, at least one person killed was not wearing a seat belt, the MHP reported.

The patrol's District 4, which includes Yellowstone, Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties, reported more deaths than the state's other eight districts — 39 for the year, an increase of one from 2011.

District 5, based in Glendive, reported the second-highest number of deaths, 31, while the Bozeman district reported 28. The MHP said the Missoula and Butte districts each had 25 people die. Kalispell reported 23, Havre reported 19, and the Great Falls district had 14 deaths.

Thirteen people had died on Montana roadways in 2013 as of Monday afternoon, up one from the same period in 2012.

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