North Dakota road traffic victims remembered for being more than just a statistic

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 5:33 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Vision Zero held an event to commemorate those who lost loved ones in traffic fatalities. The World Day of Remembrance honors and memorializes those who have died.

At the State Capitol, chairs remained empty to honor those who have passed. One of the vacant seats represented Taylor Goven, who was killed by a drunk driver. She was honored by her family members.

“My daughter and her friend were both promising young ladies and had bright futures, and their lives were snuffed out in an instant. It’s just heartbreaking, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody,” said Miles Mehlhoff.

They attend events like this one to help spread the message to others of what the consequences of driving can be.

“Maybe other people will think about it before they go out and drive. They drive distracted or impaired, and it’s horrible that events like this have to happen, but maybe people will think twice about it,” said Hayden Mehlhoff.

Vision Zero hopes that people recognize the statistics they release each year to be internalized as more than just numbers.

“I think for people here today, it just helps put a name to those numbers. We put numbers out constantly on how many fatalities we’ve had. This puts names to them. It puts families to them. It makes them more real,” said Lauren Wahlman, North Dakota Department of Transportation.

With events like this, attendees hope to instill the message of being more careful on the roads.

“Don’t do it because it affects more people than just the person that you kill. It affects their entire families, and we have to live with that forever,” said Hayden Mehlhoff.

This was the second year the international event, The World Day of Remembrance, was held in person in North Dakota.

To honor the 97 lives lost on North Dakota roads this year, observers had a moment of silence for 97 seconds to represent those lost.