Fatal Montana Highway Crashes Increased in 2007

By Beacon Staff

BUTTE – The Montana Highway Patrol says the number of fatal accidents on the state’s roadways continued to climb in 2007.

Statewide, 276 highway fatalities were recorded last year, compared to 263 in 2006, 251 in 2005 and 229 in 2004.

Patrol Col. Paul Grimstad blames the lack of seat belt use as the biggest factor in the number of highway deaths. He says he plans to press the 2009 Legislature for a primary seat belt law. Such a law would give law enforcement the authority to pull someone over just for not wearing a seat belt.

Grimstad said passing a primary seat belt law would involve changing the attitude and culture of the state.

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