2012 Traffic Accidents | VideoJessica Roose | 1/2/2013
2012 is over and the North Dakota Highway Patrol hopes that 2013 will be a better one for our roadways.
"All law enforcement throughout North Dakota was very taxed throughout 2012. We ended up with 168 fatalities through the year," said Sgt. Tom Iverson with the North Dakota Highway Patrol
Which has gone up to 169 after someone passed away today from injuries sustained in an accident last year. A significant increase from 148 in 2011.
"With the increase population flux coming to North Dakota we are going to increase the chances for our traffic crashes on the roadways," Iverson said.
Iverson says a large number of those accidents happened in the winter. "People need to take extra precautions. Start their trip earlier, plan ahead. So they can arrive at their destination safely."
More accidents can have an effect on your pocketbook.
"Well, ultimately increase in claims may result in an increase in premiums down the road. That`s just the way it works," said State Farm agent Terry Richter.
Richter says many accidents can be prevented. But the driver needs to pay full attention to the task at hand. "It used to be that drinking and driving was a horrible, and it still is. But when you look at number of people who are texting and driving and on their cell phones that are being distracted. It`s a tragedy actually."
He says there are programs available to drivers through State Farm and the North Dakota Safety Council to try and teach adults and teens good driving habits. Some can even help lower your insurance rates.
The highway patrol also encourages drivers and passengers to wear a seatbelt. However, you will only be cited for not wearing one if you are pulled over for another violation. There is talk about possibly creating a primary seatbelt law in the upcoming legislative session, allowing law enforcement to pull you over for not wearing one. Right now, 32 states have a primary seatbelt law.