BISMARCK, N.D. – With increasing activity on the state’s roadways, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the North Dakota Department of Transportation continue their commitment to enhancing traffic safety.
Troopers made 1,910 DUI arrests and 816 drug-related arrests last year. The NDHP also maintained focus on other common crash causes, including excessive speed and right-of-way violations. Lack of seatbelt use contributed to preventable injuries and deaths. Troopers issued 8,830 seat belt citations throughout the year. In 2012, troopers worked nearly 17,000 hours of overtime, including a special effort on Nov. 21 when all available uniformed officers were on patrol.
Focused on education efforts, troopers gave 624 safety presentations around the state. “The men and women of our agency work hard to influence and educate motorists to drive safely,” said Col. Jim Prochniak. “We continue to emphasize that lives can be saved by driving defensively, sober and with seat belts fastened.”
Motor carrier safety has been a main focus in the past year. More than 300,000 commercial motor vehicle permits were issued in 2012, an increase of 77 percent since 2010. Motor carrier troopers and inspectors participated in enforcement, inspection, and educational efforts with the goal of reducing factors that contribute to truck crashes. Efforts included speed, right-of-way, seat belt and vehicle size and weight enforcement blitzes. Patrol techniques varied from NDHP aircraft surveillance of right-of-way violations to truck enforcement and inspection blitzes. More than 8,600 driver-vehicle examinations were administered to identify truck drivers and vehicles that posed safety risks. Committed to protecting infrastructure, troopers assessed approximately $2.7 million in overload violation fees.
Tragically, 169 people died on roadways throughout the state in 146 fatal crashes. Half the victims died in alcohol-related crashes and approximately 65 percent were not wearing seat belts.
NDDOT Safety Division Director Mark Nelson emphasizes that education, enforcement, and engineering all play an important role in maintaining a safe travel environment for all motorists. “The North Dakota Department of Transportation’s mission remains focused on a transportation system that safely moves people and goods,” says Nelson. “While we can engineer roads to make them as safe as possible, it takes the efforts of motorists to make the right decisions on the roadways. Working with our safety partners and the public will remain our top priority in an effort to help save lives.”
Motorists are encouraged to make safe, responsible driving decisions. Wearing seatbelts, slowing down, choosing designated drivers, and overtaking with caution are common sense measures that will help keep North Dakota roads safe.