State finishes 2017 with 186 traffic fatalities

Montana finished the year with 186 traffic fatalities, the state’s lowest count since 1989.

The tally was a slight decrease from last year, when 190 people died in traffic incidents. The two-year stretch is the first time since 1948 and 1949 that state highways saw fewer than 200 deaths in back-to-back years.

Col. Tom Butler, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol, said the death tally is still a “tale of tragedy,” but is a positive.

Montana’s worst year on record for traffic deaths was 1972, when 395 people died.
In 1989, the count bottomed out at 181.