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Remembering traffic victims

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Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
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Images of Kyle Nelson, killed in a car crash in 2014

Families and friends of people who died in car crashes came to the state Capitol in Bismarck Friday to observe the “World Day for Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.”

It was the first time North Dakota had hosted such a remembrance.

"Everything we do, every decision we make, for that road design, or that bridge, that sign or that light, is dedicated to one thing — to make sure that the people who use the roads — the people who travel — can make it home," said North Dakota Transportation Director Bill Panous. "In North Dakota's case, we don't get there about 100 times a year."

Yvonne Nelson is an emergency medical technician in Lidgerwood. She was on duty the night in 2014, when her youngest son lost his life in a crash. Nelson said she will remember that night for the rest of her life. And she said her family agreed to do some special public service announcements, to support “Vision Zero” – the effort for the state to work toward a goal of zero fatalities.

"I do believe that seat belts, distracted driving, should be primary offenses," Nelson said. "They should all be more than $20. It's just ridiculous."

Nelson said people should advocate for higher fines.

"If we don't, other families are4 going to go through what we go through," Nelson said.

Families were encouraged to bring shoes to a temporary memorial, to represent the shoes of their loved ones that are no longer filled.