Priority Area 3: Motor Vehicle Crashes
Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are one of the most common causes of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in Montana. MVCs result in huge medical and productivity loss, especially since younger people are disproportionately affected. High risk driving behaviors, such as not using a seatbelt consistently, speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving, are prevalent in Montana. From 2011–2015, 54% of all MVC related fatalities involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, and among fatalities to occupants of vehicles with seatbelts available, nearly 67% were unrestrained.
Distracted driving is also common; 54% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving in 2017. From 2011–2016, Montana had an unintentional motor vehicle fatality rate of 19 per 100,000 people compared to the national rate of 11 per 100,000. American Indian Montanans experienced over three times greater age-adjusted mortality rate due to MVCs than Whites, and Montana residents of rural counties have more than double the mortality rate compared with residents of urban or small metro or micropolitan counties.