KALISPELL - Bad roads and booze are a terrible combination as family and loved ones gather to celebrate the holiday season. Police departments across the state are stepping up patrols to crack down on drunk driving through the new year.
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows that in a nine-year span in the state of Montana, 932 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. Some 1.9% of people in the nation reported driving after drinking too much, and even more in Montana at 3.4%.
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also reported that 40% of traffic-related deaths between Christmas and New Year's involved drunk drivers, a 12% increase from the rest of the month of December.
Kalispell Police Department Captain Wade Rademacher says that the roads are already bad enough with the current weather and alcohol just makes it worse.
"This last week, roads are very dangerous and if you combine alcohol with that it makes them even more dangerous. So, we're trying to caution people anytime they're driving to take extra care especially if people are out celebrating to have a designated driver."
Rademacher added that the kalispell police department will have extra patrol cars out on New Year's Eve.