Statistics show Norris Road is safer than some MT highways


Statistics show Norris road is safer than believed to be (10/7/13)

FOUR CORNERS, Mt. - The Montana Highway Patrol tells NBC Montana Norris Road is not considered especially dangerous compared to other Montana roads. After a head-on collision claimed the lives of two Norris Road drivers Sunday night, we drove the 30-mile stretch of road and found 13 white crosses representing people killed in crashes along the road.

We asked Sergeant Patrick McCarthy with the Montana Highway Patrol where they respond to the most fatal crashes.

"Norris Road has a lower fatal count than the other roads around it. It may appear to be more hazardous because the fatal accidents that happen there are kind of high profile but its not our leading road for crashes, I-90 is our leading road for crashes," said McCarthy.

McCarthy says from July 2009 to the present, seven people have died in crashes on Norris road.

In order to get the most current crash statistics for Norris Road, we had to contact the Montana Department of Transportation. In 2012 there was just one fatality. The total for 2013 now stands at three. McCarthy says the number of fatalities may be relatively low, but the causes behind the crashes are serious.

"What we are finding is it's driver error. It is impairment, intoxication, inattentive driving, bad passing, those kinds of things," said McCarthy.

He says the best way to protect yourself as a driver is to drive defensively.

"You may be a good driver, the person you may be meeting on that road may not be. You may be involved in a crash through no fault of your own but the person you come across may not and you could be in an accident to no fault of your own, and you have to have your seat belt on to do well in a crash," said McCarthy.  

McCarthy wants to remind drivers with the winter months coming it is important to take it slow on highways.

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