The North Dakota Department of Transportation recently released the “2011 North Dakota Crash Summary” and the numbers are fairly grim.
“It’s getting worse,” Kasey Skalicki, Safe Communities coordinator with the Valley City-Barnes County Health District, said Tuesday. “In 2011 we had 148 motor vehicle deaths, which is 43 more than in 2010. We have been increasing steadily this year, we’re way ahead of time.”
Skalicki said seat belts and sober driving would have saved many of the lives lost on North Dakota roads in 2011 and 2012.
“Alcohol-related crashes, which are 100 percent preventable, should not be killing anyone,” Skalicki said at the quarterly Community Response Coalition meeting last week.
“As of Aug. 30 in North Dakota we’ve had 100 people die on our roads.
Forty-eight of them were alcohol related, and 50 of those people were not wearing their seat belts. Of the alcohol-related ones, 11 were age 20 and below, and of the non-seatbelt wearers, 10 were age 20 and below.”
The report found that in 2011, male drivers were involved in 60.8 percent of all crashes and 77.5 percent of all fatal crashes. Alcohol, drugs and medication were the main contributing factor in fatal crashes for the year, followed by excessive speed, crossing lane lines, failure to yield, evasive or improper driving and driving too fast for conditions.
Slightly more than half of all drivers involved in alcohol related crashes last year were between ages 18 and 29, 42 percent of those occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., 24.7 percent on Saturday and alcohol played a factor in 43.1 percent of all fatal crashes for 2011.
Seat belt use peaked in 2007 at 82.2 percent, and in that year 77 percent of fatal crash victims were not wearing seat belts. Seat belt use has been declining since then, at 76.7 percent in 2011. However, 69 percent of last years fatalities were unbelted. Seat belt use in Barnes County was 87.5 percent, well above the state average.
2011 North Dakota Crash Clock
-One traffic crash occurred every 28 minutes.
-One person was injured every 1.7 hours.
-One person died in a crash every 2.5 days.
-One unbelted occupant died every 4.7 days.
-One motorcyclist was in a crash every 1.6 days.
-One speed-related crash occurred every 5.2 hours.
-One teenage-driver crash occurred every 2.5 hours.
-One alcohol-related crash occurred every 8.6 hours.
-One pedestrian was involved in a crash every 2.9 days.
-One pedal cycle was involved in a crash every 4.6 days.
-One driver was involved in a deer crash every 3.0 hours.
-One crash occurred in a roadway under construction every 1.8 days.