PLEASE BUCKLE UP AND DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE

The Montana Highway Patrol and other law departments are gearing up enforcement efforts for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

So far, Montana’s traffic fatalities in 2016 have drastically outpaced the previous year, according to statistics by Montana Highway Patrol. Through May 16 of this year, 61 individuals lost their lives in vehicle crashes on Montana roadways, up from 42 fatalities in 2015. Last year’s total number of fatalities in vehicle crashes was 224, up from 192 in 2014. And of those 2015 crash fatalities, 172 deaths occurred in vehicles equipped with seat belts, yet 70 percent of those who died were not wearing seat belts.