The Sobering Stats

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, compiled and analyzed by the law firm John Foy and Associates, showed that Montana has the highest number of fatalities per capita among the "Generation Z" demographic of younger drivers.

The analysis encompasses drivers killed from 2017 through 2021, five full years.  Gen Z are young people born between 1997 and 2012.

In those time frames, Montana lost 101 Gen Zs from an estimated population of 230,000.  That breaks down to 43.76 deaths per 100,000.  And that number, 43.76, makes Montana the worst in the nation.

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Credit: LSOphoto, Getty Images, TSM Media Center
Credit: LSOphoto, Getty Images, TSM Media Center

Here's the approximate numbers and the math of the 5 worst states in this study:

Montana: 101 deaths among 230,000 = 43.76 per 100,000.

Mississippi: 270 deaths among 650,000 = 41.53

Wyoming: 40 among 124,000 = 32.27

Alabama: 345 among 1,074,000 = 32.12

South Carolina: 337 among 1,088,000 = 30.96

Now when I looked the years of the crash date and the birth years considered Gen Z, I immediately thought "Wait, we have kids driving?"  Then I thought, "No, the data includes Gen Z passengers killed in the accidents."

I'm totally wrong.  The data counts only the drivers.

So now I'm asking what factors produce this unfavorable road statistic, given that the drivers are in the older end of Gen Z, up to 24 years old.  Teens can get a Learner License as early as 14 1/2 years old, so there is almost ten years of Gen Z who can drive.

Is speed a factor, with an interstate limit of 80 MPH?  Alcohol?  Other drugs?

Was the Gen Z driver at fault in a particular accident?  Were they driving recklessly, thinking they're in an action movie, and that they thought they knew what they were doing, and that they were bulletproof.  Or was it another driver at fault, operating the other vehicle unsafely or under the influence?

While this isn't great for Montana, I wish there was more detail in the study.  I wish someone looked at the 101 fatalities.  This research was simple number crunching.

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Credit: Ljupco, TSM Media Center

There is still a clear message for this younger generation:

You're not Indestructible.

Each year there are young men and women, boys and girls in your age group, killed in car accidents in this wide open state.  Keep that in mind when you get into a motor vehicle.  An accident can mangle you just as much as it will the car.

Suddenly, a seat belt, a reduced speed, and a sober driver are pretty smart ideas, huh?

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