DUI Fatalities Drop in 2013 - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

DUI Fatalities Drop in 2013

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BILLINGS -

The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities took a drop in 2013.

But, Montana Highway Patrol troopers are more concerned about drivers wearing their seatbelts. "My advice is to wear your seatbelt even if you're going to the grocery store to get some milk, because it could save your life," MHP Sergeant Craig Baum said.

According to Baum, the number of traffic fatalities where seatbelts were not used, happened more than in 2012. However, alcohol-involved fatalities dropped 30 percent. "To see that the numbers are down a little bit is encouraging from my standpoint that maybe we are making a little bit of a dent in the problem," Sergeant Baum said.

Sergeant Baum attributes the drop to newer legislation. "We have a 24/7 program that's really successful. We have the ability to get a warrant for someone's blood in the event they're arrested for a DUI, and they refuse to give us a test. It immensely helps us when prosecuting those repeat offenders," Sergeant Baum said.

Sergeant Baum said if you plan to ring in the new year with alcohol, be sure to plan ahead. "Get a designated driver if you're going to go out and partake in the festivities. Either call a taxi or get someone sober who can drive you around," Baum said.

Sergeant Baum said the overall cost of a DUI can set you back up to $10,000. Baum said it's a small price to pay to save lives. Sergeant Baum said additional troopers will be patrolling through the holidays. He said anywhere from five to eight troopers will be working during the New Year's holiday.

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