More People Die On Montana's Roads In 2013 - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

More People Die On Montana's Roads In 2013

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BOZEMAN -

More people died on Montana's highways in 2013 compared to 2012 according to the Montana Highway Patrol's weekly report.

More people are dying because they simply aren't buckling up.

So far, 204 people died in the 198 deadly crashes across the state, 17 of those were in Gallatin, Broadwater, Madison, Park and Magher counties.

Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Patrick McLaughlin said they are working to lower that number even more.

"A number of things come to mind such as proactive enforcement not just by our agency, but by other local law enforcement agencies," said McLaughlin. "Seatbelts are a huge one. We are still getting a large number of folks that are dying in crashes because they are unrestrained."

One hundred eighty-six people died so far in 2013, 20 more than last year.

But, according the MHP report, fewer people are dying because of drunk drivers.

In 2012, 57 people died from alcohol related crashes on Montana roads, but only 41 so far in 2013, down 28 percent.

McLaughlin says they've been cracking down on drunk drivers in southwest Montana.

"We're putting people on the road specifically to look for intoxicated or drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin also gives credit to community programs like AAA's Tipsy Tow, where towing companies will tow impaired drivers and their cars home around the holidays.

"There are just a lot of great programs in our community," said McLaughlin. "I think education along with proactive enforcement is probably the biggest reason we are seeing alcohol related deaths."

The tipsy tow program ends Thursday.

With New Year's Eve Tuesday, McLaughlin urges people who know they will be drinking at parties to make sure they have a designated driver.

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