North Dakota experienced many highs and lows during the past calendar year. Far too many tragedies played out on North Dakota roadways last year as 140 people perished from injuries they sustained during motor vehicle crashes. For Highway Patrol Colonel James Prochniak, the reminders came all too frequently that motor vehicle travel should not be taken for granted. "The men and women of our agency work very hard to influence and educate motorists to drive safely," stated Prochniak. "Every crash strengthens our resolve to continue to emphasize that lives can be saved by driving defensively, sober and with seatbelts fastened."
The lack of seat belt usage in North Dakota continues to account for preventable injuries and deaths. Unrestrained occupants account for 69% of the fatal crash victims during the past three years. Rollover crashes are especially deadly for unrestrained occupants. Statistics show that during the past seven years, 314 people have died in rollover crashes in North Dakota. Eighty-two percent of them were not wearing their seat belt.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) continue to find new ways to incorporate their combined mission of reducing traffic crashes on North Dakota roadways. 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. "Working with our safety partners and the public will remain our top priority in an effort to help save lives."