Burgum, 3 other state agencies working on zero traffic fatality effort

Jan 18, 2018

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The effort is called “Vision Zero.”

The goal: Zero highway fatalities in North Dakota.

Gov. Doug Burgum, along with the directors of the state Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol  and the Health Department, unveiled the program at a State Capitol event Thursday.

"The government is going to do what it can across our cabinet agencies, but this has to be a shift in culture," Burgum told reporters. "And it has to be personal resposibility."

Burgum says Vision Zero means zero fatalities.

"Can we be the first state that has zero fatalities in a year?" Burgum said.

Burgum said agencies will meet to discuss potential Legislative changes to be introduced in 2019.

The Governor did say he favors making seat belt laws primary enforcement in North Dakota.

Currently, not buckling up is “secondary enforcement,” meaning you can’t be stopped just for not wearing them, but you can face extra fines if you’re stopped for something else, and aren’t buckled up.

"I've had a chance to meet with a number of North Dakota Highway Patrolmen, and one of the questions I asked was 'How do you feel about a primary seat belt law?" Burgum said.  "I haven't met one who didn't think it was a great idea."

In North Dakota, not wearing your seat belt is rates as the number one reason for traffic fatalities.