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Auto Accident Crashes, Fatalities on Downward Trend in North Dakota

December 2019

North Dakota experienced fewer automobile crashes in 2018 than 2017, and there were 11 fewer deaths. This trend began in 2013 when there were nearly 20,000 crashes. It is fervently hoped that the crashes and deaths continue to drop as North Dakota continues to invest in driving safety awareness programs.

State officials point to several factors that have contributed to the decline, including both fewer oil trucks on the road because of a local pipeline, higher energy production from other sources, including renewable, and certain legislation. Undoubtedly, however, the biggest factor in the drop must be the combination of distracted driving awareness and tougher penalties for distracted driving.

Texting while driving makes a driver more than 20 times as likely to be involved in a crash as a driver who’s paying attention. A distracted driver is six times more likely to crash than a drunk driver. The terrible danger from texting while driving can be seen in the following example:

On the highway while traveling at 60 mph, a car travels 88 feet every second. Texting something as seemingly innocuous as, "See you later," takes, on average, four or five seconds. If it takes five seconds, the car will travel 440 feet. That’s equivalent to a 40-story building or almost exactly 1.5 football fields. During that time, a car could switch lanes, merge from an on ramp, or worst of all, cross the center line. The distracted driver will be utterly helpless while gazing at a phone screen.

Nothing is that important that it cannot wait for a driver to pull off the road into a parking lot, shut the car off, and answer the phone. To combat distracted driving, the State of North Dakota unveiled its Vision Zero plan in 2017. This plan supplemented previous plans instead of replacing them.

No one is allowed to text while driving. Doing so carries a $100 fine. Unlike previous incarnations of the law, officers may ticket someone for texting even if no other offense is involved. If the driver commits an offense while texting, the fines for both the texting and the additional offense apply. Additionally, drivers who are 18 and younger are prohibited from using any device for any reason, including making calls with hands-free technology. 

In a situation where you, a loved one, or a friend have been injured or killed in a serious auto accident, it can seem a daunting task to know what to do and where to go thereafter. Having an advocate at your side, such as a lawyer whose focus is personal injury law, can be calming and encouraging. The experienced attorneys at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben will deal with all your legal concerns, while you or your loved ones focus on recovery. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed during an accident involving distracted driving, give us a call at 612-377-7777 or toll free at 1-800-752-4265 for a free consultation and protect your rights.

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