Seat belts save lives. It’s a fact that we have all heard at one time or another. Vision Zero has one goal – to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. Every 11 days, one unbelted vehicle occupant died in a motor vehicle crash in North Dakota in 2019. While zero may be a lofty goal, it is one we are determined to meet because crashes are preventable.

I am one of the three new Vision Zero Regional Coordinators located in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot. We are here to be your connection, provide you with information, and, our top priority, to keep you and your family safe while on North Dakota roads. That being said, we can’t do it without you.

Help us reach Vision Zero’s goal by sharing how important it is to take personal responsibility as a driver and vehicle occupant. Wearing a seat belt, transporting children in the appropriate child passenger safety seats, driving sober and distraction-free, obeying all posted speed limits, and driving for North Dakota’s ever-changing road conditions will all play a critical role in getting to zero.

Buckling up takes seconds. Those few seconds could save your life and prevent your loved ones from going through the heartbreak of losing you.

Being in a crash is something I know wouldn’t affect just me. The officers on the scene, the paramedics, the firefighters, and the crash reconstruction team are part of the experience and have to deal with that. They would then carry the weight of telling my family, and my family would carry the weight of telling the others I know. If I can prevent that chain of events by driving safely, I will. And I want to help others avoid that reality as well.

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When it comes to your life or the lives of your family and friends, is any other number acceptable?

To learn more about Vision Zero, go online to VisionZero.ND.gov.

Kaitlin Atkinson, Vision Zero Regional Coordinator, Northeast Region