HELENA – As the summer travel season culminates with the approaching Labor Day weekend, the Montana Department of Transportation reports that more people died in alcohol-related crashes on Montana roadways this summer than during the same time period last year. As of Aug. 20, 2012, preliminary reports show 36 alcohol-related fatalities occurred in Montana motor vehicle crashes, 13 more fatalities than reported in the same timeframe in 2011.

Based on preliminary data, over the last five years, an average of one alcohol-related driving fatality occurred every three days on Montana roads, ultimately accounting for 44 percent of all Montana’s traffic fatalities. That percentage places Montana among the five states with the worst percentage of highway fatalities attributable to alcohol.

Montana law enforcement agencies around the state are participating in the National Labor Day Mobilization Campaign, running from Aug. 20 through Sept. 3, to remind motorists that driving impaired and not buckling up greatly increases the risk of traveling for themselves and others. The Montana Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies have also increased patrols through the holiday weekend.

The MDT reminds Montanans that planning ahead for a safe ride home is the smart thing to do for themselves, their families, and fellow drivers and passengers on the road. Montanans can plan their safe ride home with a sober driver by following the planning tips and tools found at plan2live.mt.gov.