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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Montana's Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents / and those little white crosses



I recently returned from a trip to Glacier National Park.  Yes, I occasionally do other things besides this blog.  The Park is, of course, in Montana and is spectacular; but this is not a travelogue.  This is about the little white crosses that dot the Montana highways.  Each cross indicates a traffic fatality at a given location.

Now, I must say that I initially found them to be kind of morbid and distasteful.  Imagine riding along with your small children or grandchildren and explaining every few miles, ‘Yes, someone was killed here in a car wreck.’  However, even children would grow bored with the concept after a while; and so, perhaps, that's nothing to be particularly concerned about.

At one location there was a rack of five crosses displayed – apparently five people died – probably in the same accident.  It seemed strange.  It was a straight stretch of road.  One might tend to imagine the intoxicated driver, flying high on alcohol or the recreational marijuana he purchased in Oregon or Washington (my apologies to those who smoke weed responsibly), crossing the center line and plowing into a family’s minivan.

Then there is the less morbid, practical side of me that says, ‘Doesn’t the State of Montana have better projects to spend their money on?’

I was thinking all these things as I was rocketing along a rather curvy road at seventy MPH.  Say what, you ask?  Yes, Montana’s infatuation with little white crosses is complimented by their excessive speed limits along some questionable two-lane roads.  Seventy is quite common.  Now, because I’ve matured over the years, I tend to slow down on the curves; but, I’m not sure that I would have done that at eighteen – due to my then immature and perhaps more literal understanding of what the speed limit meant.

Furthermore, Montana, interestingly, does not require helmets on motorcyclists who also travel seventy plus along these curvy roads.  Which, I’m sure can be a lot of fun.  It has also brought the state, I would imagine, an abundant supply of organ donors – incidentally or purposely, I’m not sure – organs for a little white cross – seems fair.

Anyway, those were my thoughts.  So, I decided to look into it.

To be continued…


True Nelson