According to a North Dakota Department of Transportation crash summary, in 2017 there were a total of 15,280 motor vehicle crashes, 4,432 crash injuries, and 116 motor vehicle crash fatalities in North Dakota.
The Adams County Farmers Union, Farmers Union Insurance – Jerel Seamands Agent, and National Mutual Benefit Branch 81 set out to address this problem by sponsoring a defensive driving class this week.
The four-hour defensive driving class, which took place at the NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center, focused on the prevention of vehicle crashes and tickets.
North Dakota Safety Council presenter Don Moseman highlighted the importance of accountability while driving.
Although driving is an activity people do every day, it is one that is potentially fatal. According to Don’s presentation, the number one work place fatality results from car crashes.
“We do not call them accidents anymore because accident infers that nobody did anything wrong. 98% of all vehicle crashes… are caused by human error,” said Moseman.
Seat belts were another main focus in the presentation. Don covered the dangers of a person being ejected from a car. According to the ND DOT 2017 crash report, of the motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota 55% were not wearing their seat belt.
“Unfortunately, North Dakota does not do well when it comes to traffic fatalities. Just a couple of months ago, we learned that we are the only State out of 50 States that our seatbelt usage actually dropped last year,” said Moseman. “No state has had seat belt usage drop since 1968… so we are the bottom of the percentage of people who use our seatbelt.”
The defensive driving course continued to teach people how to recognize hazards, understand defensive driving, and how to act reasonably to avoid collisions.
After the presentation, individuals had to take and pass North Dakota a written exam to complete the defensive driving class.
Once completed, the defensive driving course allowed attending individuals to remove infraction points from their license and even possibly reduce their insurance payments.
There was also an on-site truck weighing demonstration during the event. Presenter Leanna Emmer taught truck drivers how to weigh a semi truck and even a trailer. Emmer taught people how to record the configurations of their vehicle to get an estimated weight.
Arlene Walch, a board member of both the Adams County Farmers Union and the National Mutual Benefit Branch 81, said that the defensive driving course was a great event for people to learn how to drive safely.
“It’s important,” said Walch, “There hasn’t been a public defensive driving course for many, many years in Hettinger.”
Arlene was also thankful to the sponsors for hosting a free meal and making the event affordable for the thirty people who attended.
“A lot of work was put into making this event happen,” said Walch. “It’s good to remind people how to stay safe.”