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.

Goals

  1. Prevent deaths and traumatic injuries due to motor vehicle crashes by mitigating the pre-crash, during crash, and post-crash factors among Montanans overall and among American Indians.

Objectives for all Montanans by 2023

  • Decrease age-adjusted mortality rate due to MVCs from 19 deaths per 100,000 people to 12 deaths per 100,000 (Baseline: MT Office of Vital Statistics, 2012-2016)
  • Increase the proportion of adult motor vehicle occupants that report always wearing seatbelts from 75% to 79% (Baseline: MT BRFSS, 2016)
  • Increase the proportion of high school students that report always wearing seatbelts while riding in a car driven by someone else from 52% to 55% (Baseline: MT YRBS, 2017)
  • Decrease the proportion of MVC fatalities that involve alcohol-impaired drivers from 40% to 38% (Baseline: FARS, 2012-2016)
  • Decrease the proportion of high school students who report texting or emailing while driving from 54% to 51% (Baseline: MT YRBS, 2017)
  • Decrease age-adjusted rate of non-fatal ED visits related to MVCs from 389 per 100,000 people to 370 per 100,000 (Baseline: MHDDS, 2016)
  • Decrease age-adjusted rate of non-fatal hospitalizations related to MVCs from 37 per 100,000 people to 36 per 100,000 (Baseline: MHDDS, 2016)

Objectives to improve health equity by 2023

  • Decrease age-adjusted mortality rate due to MVCs among American Indians from 55 per 100,000 people to 52 per 100,000 people (Baseline: MT Office of Vital Statistics, 2012-2016)
  • Increase the proportion of adult American Indian motor vehicle occupants that report always wearing seatbelts from 69% to 72% (Baseline: MT BRFSS, 2016)
  • Increase the proportion of American Indian youth less than 18 years of age that report always wearing seatbelts while riding in a car driven by someone else from 32% to 34% (Baseline: MT YRBS, 2017)

Prevention and health promotion strategies

  • Promote Montana Department of Transportation’s (MDT) Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan's Vision Zero: zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways.
  • Support efforts of MDT SOAR project (Safe On All Roads), which focuses on reducing American Indian traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
  • Increase awareness of high-risk driving behaviors.
  • Support improved surveillance of MVCs through data linkages.
  • Support efforts of the MDT teen peer-to-peer traffic safety program and campaigns.

Clinical strategies

  • Support further development of the trauma system (both EMS and trauma facilities) to reduce severity of injury outcomes.

Policy strategies

  • Support primary seatbelt law.
  • Support policies to reduce distracted driving.
  • Support increasing age requirements on child passenger restraints from aged 5 years to aged 8 years.
  • Support increasing age requirements for graduated licensing learners permits from aged 14 years to aged 16 years.
  • Support increasing age requirements for graduated licensing unrestricted license from aged 16 years and 6 months to aged 18 years old.
  • Encourage the use of alcohol/drug monitoring, such as the 24/7 program (which includes ignition interlocks), for DUI offenders.
  • Encourage community design and policies that keep all road users safe.
  • Engage with tribal governments to implement proven policy interventions in their jurisdictions.

Health equity strategies

  • Utilize data on age groups, geographic regions, and gender to identify high-risk groups.
  • Develop and implement culturally competent materials and programs to address disparities in MVC fatalities and high-risk driving behaviors.

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Workgroup meeting materials

Date Agenda Minutes
September 24, 2020 09/24/2020 09/24/2020
June 9, 2020 06/09/2020 06/09/2020
January 8, 2020 01/08/2020 01/08/2020
September 10, 2019 09/10/2019 09/10/2019
May 21, 2019 05/21/2019 05/21/2019

Data

You can also develop customized reports about some of the motor vehicle crash metrics using MT-IBIS. For help with MT-IBIS, contact the Office of Epidemiology and Scientific Support (OESS)

You can also access all recent data reports on multiple topics from OESS or visit the Motor Vehicle and Seat Belt Safety from the Injury Prevention Program to learn more.