Bozeman Trail Road

BOZEMAN - Even if it doesn't look like it right now, summer is coming. And that means the deadliest days of the year for drivers.

Starting May 20, a campaign in Gallatin County will be focusing on educating the public about the danger of drunk driving.

"More presence, more law enforcement, more vehicles - marked vehicles - out in the public," says Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin regarding the Sheriff's Office strategy over the next few weeks. "It's a deterrent. It helps people take a second look."

During the summer, almost twice as many fatal crashes take place in the Treasure State. It's due to a deadly combination of more drivers on the roads, an increase in drunk and distracted drivers, and drivers riding more frequently without seatbelts.

That's where Click It or Ticket comes in. And despite the campaign's name, Sheriff Gootkin says it's not about racking up more tickets for law enforcement. Instead, the effort is about getting boots on the ground and the community engaged in stopping the unsafe driving epidemic.

"We don't focus on the tickets, we're more about just making sure that everyone's safe," Gootkin reiterates, clarifying that if someone were driving recklessly, they'd still be ticketed.

"It's terrible, people really shouldn't do it," says Bozeman resident and Montana State University student Amy Peerlinck. "Because you're not just being dangerous to yourself, but most importantly, to other people."

The strength of the campaign is that it's a cause everyone can come together to support and realize.

"Call a Uber, or a taxi, or a friend," says Peerlinck, "give your keys to someone else! Ride your bike! Walk! There's so many options, especially if you live in Bozeman."

"The last thing we wanna do is go to an accident or go to a fatality," Gootkin explains. "We would much rather just visit with ya face-to-face and make sure that you're okay."

The Click It or Ticket campaign goes until June 2, but the 100 deadliest days start on Memorial Day and end on Labor Day.

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