Area teens driven to succeed with traffic safety activities

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Teen drivers from around the Bismarck-Mandan area got together to participate in the Vision Zero Driving Skills for Success event Wednesday.

About one hundred new drivers took a day off from summer fun to learn about safe driving. Wednesday, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and Vision Zero partnered with area law enforcement and auto companies to bring interactive traffic safety activities to the VFW building in Bismarck.

“We have a ton of traffic safety learning opportunities for students. We’ve got seatbelt use, distracted driving, and impaired driving prevention. There’s ATVs people can learn how to back up a trailer, we also have how to change a tire thanks to Tires Plus,” said Lauren Bjork, safety public information program manager with NDDOT.

One of the most impactful activities was the distracted driving course. Teens navigated a course first with no distractions and then a second time with loud music, texts on their cell phones, and distractions from passengers in the car.

“That was hard, but it was a good eye-opener not to text and drive and all that fun stuff. But it was definitely an eye-opener for me,” said new driver’s permit holder Madilyn Johnson.

But it’s not just texting that can cause a crash. Even something as quick and routine as changing a radio station or podcast can be dangerous.

“Yup, could be distracted and all it takes is those couple seconds of you not looking at the road and that’s what can happen,” said Sergeant Brandon Stockie of the Dickinson Police Department.

According to Vision Zero, in 2020 teen drivers in North Dakota accounted for only 5% of all licensed drivers but were behind the wheel in nearly 20% of the crashes and were involved in 12% of fatal crashes. Vision Zero Driving Skills for Success is an annual event that moves around the state. They will hold the event again but the location has yet to be selected.

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