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ND Among Most Dangerous Driving States Over Memorial Day Weekend

There were about 1.2 fatal car crashes per 100,000 people in North Dakota between 2013 and 2017. (Christopher Boswell/Adobe Stock)
There were about 1.2 fatal car crashes per 100,000 people in North Dakota between 2013 and 2017. (Christopher Boswell/Adobe Stock)
May 24, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakotans driving over Memorial Day weekend need to be especially careful, according to a new analysis. It isn't what was intended by nicknaming it the "Roughrider State," but North Dakota is the third-most dangerous state for drivers this holiday weekend.

Research firm "ASecureLife" looked at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2013 and 2017 to calculate its rankings, finding about 1.2 fatal crashes per 100,000 people in North Dakota. Andrea Harvey, research and communications specialist with ASecureLife, says the increased risk is, in part, because Memorial Day is the beginning of heavy summer travel.

"Definitely just because it's Memorial Day and it's dangerous, you're going to want to be careful and extra cautious throughout the whole summer if you're going on road trips," says Harvey.

The analysis ranked West Virginia and Mississippi as the top two most dangerous states for weekend driving, and South Dakota at number four. According to the analysis, Maine is the safest.

This is the third-deadliest driving weekend of the year, behind Independence Day and Labor Day.

An estimated 88% of trips this weekend will be by car. Harvey offers some tips for safe driving.

"Slow down, go the speed limit," says Harvey. “Drive defensively. Obviously, don't drive drunk, period. Wear a seatbelt, and try to avoid driving at night. And if you have to, just be extra cautious, especially if you're in an area where there's no street lamps."

Making sure everyone is wearing a seat-belt greatly reduces the chance of death in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 47% of car passengers killed in 2017 didn't have seat-belts on.

Given the summer holidays coming up, Memorial Day marks the start of the so-called "100 days of deadliest driving."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND