Montana Department of Transportation

Traffic Safety Programs

Occupant Protection

Montana's seat belt usage has grown steadily over the past few years. Restraint use on most of Montana's reservations, however, is still very low. Usage in pickup trucks is lower than other passenger vehicles and the usage rate among occupants from age 15 to 25 is lower than any other age group.

Our goals are to:

Reduce Unrestrained Fatalities

  • Reduce the five-year average number of unrestrained vehicle occupant fatalities from 106 in 2014 to 98 by 2020.

Reduce Unrestrained Incapacitating Injuries

  • Reduce the five-year average number of unrestrained vehicle occupant fatalities and incapacitating injuries from 410 in 2014 to 313 by 2020.

Increase Seat Belt Use

  • Increase statewide observed seat belt use in passenger vehicles from a usage rate of 74% to 77.7% by December 31, 2020.

For more information about this program, please contact:

Traffic Safety Planner
State Highway Traffic Safety Section

The Programs

Drive Safely

There were 187 fatalities in 2017. There have been 59 fatalities on Montana highways in 2018 compared to 71 fatalities for this same time in 2017.


Secondary vs. Primary Enforcement

Montana has secondary law enforcement for safety belt use, meaning that there must be another reason for stopping a vehicle other than noncompliance with safety belt laws before a violation can be charged.

Although Montana ranks relatively high for overall seat belt usage among states with secondary law enforcement, (79 percent in 2013 for all roads), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that most states with a primary enforcement law have higher compliance rates.

The Law