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01/18/2018 10:00 AM

State Agencies Partner to Launch Vision Zero Traffic Safety Initiative

BISMARCK, N.D. --- Today, Governor Doug Burgum, along with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) and the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH), launched Vision Zero as the state’s primary traffic safety initiative. The comprehensive, multi-agency effort’s goal is to continually work toward zero motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. Each participating agency has a lead role in both educating the public and implementing state laws with respect to traffic safety.

“As a state, we must continually reinvent how we think about traffic safety -- what issues motorists are facing, what technologies help us or distract us - and work to ensure everyone gets home alive,” said Governor Burgum. “While government plays a key role in traffic safety, we can’t view this as solely a government issue, which is why the mission of Vision Zero is so important. By emphasizing the personal responsibility to buckle up and obey the law, we reinforce that prevention is every North Dakotan’s responsibility.”

Vision Zero will be implemented through various strategies, including: (1) widespread public education/outreach, (2) working with the legislature to ensure state laws represent best practices in traffic safety, (3) high visibility enforcement of existing laws, (4) technology advancements, and (5) infrastructure/road safety improvements. Along with the support and action of these lead agencies, private sector stakeholders that share interest in traffic safety will also be included in Vision Zero efforts.

“There is no acceptable number of deaths on North Dakota roads,” said NDDOT Director Tom Sorel. “In 2017, preliminary data tells us there were 113 motor vehicle fatalities and nearly 3,300 injury crashes, resulting in 466 people being seriously injured. It is important that we all remember these are not just numbers. These are people killed and injured in a motor vehicle crash. The NDDOT is proud to help spearhead Vision Zero as the framework to guide all statewide traffic safety activity, enhance what we’ve done to-date, and ultimately save lives.”

2017 ND Top Contributing Factors in MV fatalities

2017 ND Percentage of MV Fatalities

2016 ND Percentage of MV Fatalities

Unbelted fatalities










“Motor vehicle crashes are among the top leading cause of deaths in North Dakota,” said NDHP Superintendent Colonel Michael Gerhart. “The Highway Patrol’s mission is to provide high quality law enforcement services to keep everyone safe and secure. We risk our lives to help prevent others from risking theirs. This is our commitment to Vision Zero. At the same time, I cannot stress enough the importance of this effort’s emphasis on personal responsibility such as always driving sober and distraction free, buckling up and slowing down.”

Of the motor vehicle fatalities in 2017, preliminary crash data shows approximately 80 percent were in a passenger vehicle, 10 percent were motorcyclists, four percent were pedestrians, three percent were individuals on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), two percent were bicyclists, and three percent were train-related. Victims ranged in age from three years old to 90 years old and 83 percent were North Dakota residents.

“North Dakotans must take personal responsibility for themselves and those in their care, particularly babies and young children who need assistance with car seats or booster seats,” said State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte. “The Department of Health’s commitment to Vision Zero is to educate, lead, provide resources and implement policy.”

Since 2012 in North Dakota, motor vehicle crash fatalities have decreased by nearly 34 percent. The goal of zero fatalities is not only attainable, but also vital. When it comes to your life, or the lives of your family and friends, what other number is acceptable? With Vision Zero, we can all agree the only acceptable goal is zero motor vehicle fatalities because every life matters. 

For more information about Vision Zero, visit