to the top of the page

  Home  »  Press Releases »  

Vision Zero at five years

Vision Zero at five years

For Immediate Release: Jan 18 2023
STATEWIDE, N.D. – It’s been five years since North Dakota announced Vision Zero as the state’s primary traffic safety initiative. This comprehensive effort continues to work toward zero motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads through several strategies.

“The past five years have reinforced that personal responsibility is a key element in the success of Vision Zero. When we are all moving toward the same goal of zero fatalities by wearing a seat belt, driving distraction-free and following all traffic safety laws, lives are saved,” said Gov. Doug Burgum. “We’re deeply grateful to our state agencies and all stakeholders who have partnered with us to make our roads safer in North Dakota.”

“Widespread public education and outreach, high visibility enforcement, infrastructure and road safety improvements have been a cornerstone to the success of Vision Zero,” said North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Ron Henke. “These efforts have been effective thanks to the dedication of our many state and community partners who are committed to reaching the ultimate goal of zero.”

Successes since 2018 include:
  • Vehicle fatalities have been on a steady decline across the state. North Dakota ended 2020 and 2021 with a total of 100 and 101 motor vehicle crash fatalities respectively. These are the lowest fatality numbers in about 15 years.
  • Fatalities from alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes have decreased over the last five years.
  • Four Vision Zero Regional Outreach Coordinators have been added to implement Vision Zero strategies at the community level.
  • Four Highway Safety Corridors have been implemented across the state. Corridors include enhanced safety features and increased law enforcement presence.
  • Vision Zero Priority Emphasis Area (PEA) teams comprised of expert stakeholders continued to convene to advance the strategies within the Vision Zero Plan.
  • The ND Sober Ride program was introduced in 2021. Thanks to funds primarily from AAA – The Auto Club Group, 1,524 sober rides have been taken since the program launched.
  • Vision Zero Schools, a peer-to-peer program that allows students the opportunity to become traffic safety advocates now includes six schools across the state with plans in place for a seventh.
However, there is still work to be done. Preventable human behavior including not wearing a seat belt, alcohol and speed and/or aggressive driving continues to significantly contribute to motor vehicle fatalities. Preliminary reports indicate that North Dakota had 100 motor vehicle fatalities in 2022. Of those fatalities, nearly 65% were unbelted where seat belts were present in the vehicle.

“Zero is the only acceptable number of fatalities when it comes to our family and friends,” said Colonel Brandon Solberg of the North Dakota Highway Patrol. “The highway patrol and other public safety partners continue to provide high quality law enforcement services to make sure North Dakotans make it home to their loved ones. When everyone takes personal responsibility by buckling up and driving sober and distraction-free, avoidable fatality crashes will be eliminated.”

Of the motor vehicle fatalities in 2022, preliminary crash data shows 65% were in a passenger vehicle, 21% were motorcyclists, 6% were pedestrians and 6% were individuals on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or recreational vehicles. Motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota occur each month of the calendar year. However, over the past five years more people have died in motor vehicle crashes in the warm weather months (May through October) than the cold weather months. From 2017-2021, drivers in fatal crashes in North Dakota were primarily between the ages of 25 and 64. Crash data for 2022 is preliminary and subject to change as additional information is received.

Learn more about traffic safety initiatives at or join the conversation on the Vision Zero ND Facebook or Twitter page.