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. As a father of two young children, I want to teach my children ways to protect themselves and others. I believe putting on your seat belt is one of those ways. Hopefully when they see their dad putting on their seat belt without a second thought, they will do the same when they get older.

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.

Kyle Patterson

Vision Zero Regional Coordinator – Northwest Region

Less gerrymandering in North Dakota

Does gerrymandering happen in North Dakota?

Gerrymandering happens when lawmakers draw new legislative district boundaries so as to favor themselves and their party in future elections. 

In the year following each U.S. Census, legislative district boundaries must be redrawn so that each district has nearly the same number of voters.  A committee of legislators updates the state’s district map. In other words, elected officials pick their voters, not the other way around. 

Legislators want to be re-elected, so there is a motivation to use the redistricting process for incumbent protection. For instance, a legislator may have moved out of his district. “Let’s move the line so his new house is back in his old district.” Or, “I don’t want to have to run against that person; draw the line so that she’s not in my district.”

North Dakota citizens strongly favor government that is transparent and accessible to the citizens. House Bill 1397, which defines the procedures for North Dakota redistricting this cycle, should be amended to ensure ample opportunity for public scrutiny and input before the final map is drawn. 

Guidelines should be included in this bill that encourage the legislators to follow widely recommended criteria, such as trying not to divide city, county, township or tribal areas into different legislative districts. Neither the political affiliation of the residents nor the address of an incumbent or potential candidate should be considered when drawing the lines. North Dakota Voters First is proposing amendments to change HB1397 accordingly because North Dakota voters expect government to be both open and fair.

Carol Sawicki

North Dakota Voters First, chair

Fargo, ND

701-388-6957

[email protected]