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Billings not looking so great for driver safety

The police chief in Billings recently took some time with a local news station to point out the most common bad driving habits of Billings residents. His statements aren't so surprising, but given the number of injurious car accidents that happen throughout Montana each day, it doesn't hurt to reiterate.

The chief said that speeding, distracted driving and disregarding red lights are the main causes of traffic accidents in Billings. The chief did not mention drunk driving, but anyone who follows the local news knows that DUI crashes are also a serious issue.

The news story also points to some particularly dangerous intersections in the city. A 2011 report shows that where Main Street meets Airport Road and where Lake Elmo Drive meets Main Street are the two most dangerous intersections. The police chief said that rear-end accidents are particularly common in these areas because distracted drivers neglect to slow down when cars in front of them try to turn.

In fact, a 2012 report published in Men's Health said that drivers in Billings ranked fifth in the nation as being the most dangerous. Cell phone use while driving has been pegged as a likely cause of Billings' not-so-illustrious status.

Adding to the problem may be that the Montana legislature changed the law with regard to defining the meaning of running a red light. Under current law, a driver is not in violation if his or her vehicle is partially in an intersection when the light turns from yellow to red. It used to be that a driver was violating a traffic law if any part the vehicle was in the intersection at that time.

Montanans who want to learn more about their rights after a car accident are encouraged to visit our Bozeman car accident site.

Source: KTVQ.com, "Bad driving in Billings: bad intersections," Drew Trafton, Feb. 5, 2013

Source: KTVQ.com, "Bad driving in Billings," Drew Trafton, Feb. 4, 2013

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