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Law enforcement will again be out in serious numbers during the Fourth of July weekend in an effort to keep area roadways safe.

Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Hoffman said the patrol's full resources are available during the holiday because it is traditionally one of Montana's deadliest.

"We limit leave time for officers over the Fourth of July weekend so that we can have additional troopers out," said Hoffman.

According to the patrol, three motor vehicle fatalities were reported statewide during last year's Fourth of July weekend.

MHP won't be the only agency scrutinizing drivers heavily this weekend.

The Missoula Police Department will also be conducting extra patrols.

Sgt. Greg Amundsen said the increased patrols will concentrate on encouraging seat belt use and preventing drunken driving.

"We want to make sure that everyone enjoys the long weekend and hope to end it without a DUI crash," said Amundsen.

Funding for the additional patrols is provided by the Montana Department of Transportation's selective traffic enforcement program.

Lt. Dave Conway of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department, said the department has no extra patrols planned for the holiday weekend, but officers on duty will definitely make sure folks mind their manners when it comes to fireworks.

While fireworks are legal throughout much of the county, Conway said residents could be cited for disorderly conduct if they annoy or harass neighbors with fireworks.

Fireworks are illegal on all U.S. Forest Service land, and those starting a fire with fireworks could be responsible for all the related firefighting costs.

And Missoula city police will also respond to fireworks calls. Fireworks are illegal in city limits, and violators could face a hefty fine if caught setting them off in town.

Like city police, Montana Highway Patrol troopers will be enforcing Montana's new child restraint law, which requires children younger than 6 years old and weighing less than 60 pounds to be placed in appropriate child safety seats.

The law went into effect July 1 and violators could face a fine of up to $100.

Intern reporter Mark Boatman can be reached at (406) 544-0138, or at


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