Vision Zero: How North Dakota is Working to Eliminate Severe & Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents
4th June 2021
It seems that no matter what we do to prevent motor vehicle accidents from occurring, they still happen. People die every year in fatal car accidents because of reckless and negligent drivers who text while driving, speed, or otherwise drive irresponsibly. Vision Zero, a subsection of the North Dakota government, works to decrease these accidents through education and strategy.
Unfortunately, even with Vision Zero’s hard work, fatal crashes still occur in North Dakota. And across the country.
Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics in North Dakota
North Dakota, with a population of 762,062 people, experienced 91 fatal crashes. Consequently, this resulted in 100 fatalities in 2019.
Out of those 100 fatalities:
- 65% were car, SUV, or pickup truck occupants
- 11% were motorcyclists
- 5% were pedestrians
- 3% were large truck occupants
- 2% were bicyclists
What is Vision Zero and What Strategies Are They Using to Decrease Serious and Fatal Accidents?
Vision Zero was put into place in January of 2018 by the Governor of North Dakota. It’s a strategy hosted by North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Health. Vision Zero aims to have zero fatalities and zero excuses, establishing a culture where motor vehicle fatalities and severe injuries are recognized as preventable.
The preventability of accidents is an important subsection of Vision Zero. And information they hope to spread throughout the state. The program focuses on many different ways to bring awareness to people, helping to create better habits in drivers across North Dakota.
By helping people become familiar with North Dakota laws and encouraging people to implement best practices while driving, they hope to significantly reduce the amount of fatalities and serious injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents each and every year.
Are Accidents Preventable?
Yes, almost all motor vehicle accidents can be prevented. To prevent accidents, each driver must drive with caution. Additionally, drivers must take responsibility for their actions and drive to protect themselves and others on the road. This means that drivers should never:
- Text, talk on the phone, or otherwise engage in distractions while operating a motor vehicle
- Consume alcohol or drugs before operating a motor vehicle, even drugs that are prescribed to them in some cases
- Speed or drive recklessly
- Drive a vehicle that hasn’t been serviced or inspected in a long period of time
- Drive in any way that could put another person (or yourself) in danger
Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Safety
The key to making sure that fatal accident decrease is to make sure that everyone is driving with a sense of autonomy. Traffic crashes happen every day in the United States, but can be lessened in severity if people have more awareness of their vehicle and their driving habits. That means looking at what you may be doing wrong and correcting it.
You should always take responsibility for your own safety. You can never predict exactly how other drivers are going to act, but you can make sure that you’re driving safely. If everyone were to drive with this in mind, there would be less accidents.
The Vision Zero Plan: How it Can Help Decrease Accidents
The Vision Zero plan has a very ambitious long-term goal of reducing their yearly fatality rate to zero. However, they have a much more reachable short-term goal of reducing that number to 75 by 2025. In 2019, there were 100 fatalities because of motor vehicle accidents, which gives them six years total to decrease the rate by 25.
To do this, Vision Zero is focusing on a few specific areas, including:
- Lane departure
- Alcohol and drugs
- Unbelted vehicle occupants
- Speeding and aggressive driving
- Young drivers
They consider these to be their “Priority Safety Emphasis Areas” or the areas that can be cut down on the most. By educating drivers on these areas, they aim to reduce the fatality rating. Not only will they focus on education, but they’ll also:
- Enhance road edges (larger rumble strips and wider edge lines throughout all state roads)
- Enhance intersection cognition (upgrading traffic signs, lights, and pavement markings)
- Continue strengthening the traffic safety policy (strengthen DUI laws and increase jail time for repeat offenders)
- Enhance pedestrian safety (making countdown intersection timers more accurate and safer to use)
- Add more street lights to rural intersections
Vision Zero’s Local Road Safety Program
The Local Road Safety Program partnered with local agencies throughout the state of North Dakota to evaluate systems and select specific safety projects that would be both low-cost and effective. With this evaluation, the Local Road Safety Program found many ways to improve local roads, therefore preventing fatal traffic crashes.
What to do if You’ve Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in North Dakota
If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact our talented team of personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. It’s important to contact an attorney before speaking with an insurance company, as they may try to trick you into accepting a low settlement.
No matter how much work Vision Zero puts in, you’ll only ever be able to count on your own safe driving. If you’re injured in an accident, or if someone you love has passed away because of a motor vehicle accident, our talented attorneys are here to help you get the compensation and justice that you deserve.
For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation with our team, please contact us online, using our chat box option, or by calling us at 701-609-1510.