Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type



Health Sciences


Introduction: Montana has the highest rate of deaths due to impaired driving in the nation and the fifth lowest rate of seatbelt utilization. This study seeks to examine the relationship between these two issues in urban, rural, and Bakken-region Montana counties. Methods: Crash data for the years 2008 and 2012 were collected from the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). These data were separated by year as well as category based on drug or alcohol and seatbelt use. Risk ratios were calculated and compared by year and county. Results: There was a strong association between the use of drugs or alcohol before driving and the failure to wear a seatbelt. Rates were highest among drivers in the Bakken region of Montana, followed by those in rural and urban Montana counties. Discussion: The results of this study can be used as evidence of the need for increased funding for local police officers in rural Montana, as well as in the Bakken region of Montana. Additionally, the implementation of a primary seatbelt law in Montana would be beneficial. The implementation of both of these policies could help increase seatbelt utilization among drug and alcohol impaired drivers in Montana.

Included in

Epidemiology Commons