Montana auto accidents are perhaps the most common yet serious threats to the health of you and your family. Montana roads are frankly dangerous. Obviously most of us have to drive on a daily basis for work, but it’s also important to be aware of just how dangerous it can be. Duckworth Law Office in Polson, Montana represents people with serious personal injuries from Montana auto accidents and we unfortunately see horrific outcomes that are often preventable. Some of the more dangerous roads include our own Highway 93, and other highways and roads in Lake County or Western Montana.
Why do car accidents happen? You can find a lot of information about Montana driving at the Montana Highway Patrol website. There are thousands of car accidents per year on Montana roads, with an average of over 150 deaths per year. Thousands of people suffer other degrees of personal injury, ranging from minor to severe. Some accidents might be tough to avoid given that we deal with hazardous road conditions for a significant portion of the year, yet many accidents are in fact preventable, or at least there are some key factors that should be avoided.
#1 – Alcohol – Montana Auto Accidents
According to the Highway Patrol statistics, alcohol is a major factor in fatal accidents, contributing to over 50% of the fatal accidents, on average. Alcohol also contributes to many non-fatal accidents but at a much lower percentage than fatal accidents.
#2 – Cell Phone Use – Montana Auto Accidents
There is also no doubt that cell phone use contributes to a significant portion of the wrecks that fall in the carelessness category. Cell phone use while driving is all to common, yet likely as dangerous as drinking and driving in many instances.
It is difficult to quantify and track cell phone use while driving because it cannot always be determined unless the driver simply admits to use. Certainly in some instances, particularly crashes involving fatalities, police officers are able to obtain search warrants for the driver’s phone and sometimes reconstruct cell phone use. Regardless, it’s not a stretch to assume that cell phone use is a huge contributor to traffic accidents.
Other Preventable Montana Auto Accidents
Sorry fellow guys, but us males account for a much higher number of both fatal and non fatal crashes according to the Montana Highway Patrol. Motorcycle accidents also account for a fair share of fatal accidents (24 out of 183, on average) considering how many fewer motorcycles are on the road. Carelessness or negligence accounts for approximately 25-30% of the fatal and non-fatal accidents, which means that 25-30% of accidents are arguably preventable.
The preventable, or in other words negligent drivers, are the ones we focus on at Duckworth Law Office in hopes of making a difference. There are two important things that occur in a lawsuit stemming from a car accident: 1) our client recovers for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages, etc.; and 2) the negligent driver is held responsible. Negligent drivers oftentimes fall through the cracks of the criminal justice system, and so a civil lawsuit is the only way the driver is held accountable; i.e., learns to be a better driver.
In order to make a difference, the responsible party must be held accountable, which makes our community safer for everyone. Filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver, a negligent driver, or a texting and driving driver, might teach that person to never do it again. No one likes lawsuits, but the reality is that they make a huge difference in creating a more just and safe society.
Be careful out on Montana’s roads! Please don’t become a statistic, and I hope you never need to call Duckworth Law Office for injuries from a car accident, but that sad reality is that there will likely continue to be many preventable crashes on our Lake County and other Montana roads. We are doing ok, but we could do better. Stay safe!