The North Dakota Department of Transportation has announced that Kidder County School is the first Vision Zero School in North Dakota. A Vision Zero School gives students the opportunity to be traffic safety advocates by appearing in banners, PSAs, videos and more to share motor vehicle safety messages in their school and community.
“The message of traffic safety can be so powerful when it’s delivered to teens peer-to-peer,” said Safety Division Director Karin Mongeon. “We’re excited for Kidder County student leaders to create a culture of personal responsibility in their school where vehicle fatalities and serious injuries are recognized as preventable and not tolerated.”
Jennifer Kallenbach, Kidder County Student Council adviser, noted that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death in young people.
“It’s not uncommon for our students to be driving 20 to 30 miles to school each day," she said. "We’re a small-knit community and we want to keep people safe. Our kids think they can make a positive impact on current drivers and our younger students.”
Vision Zero Schools receive promotional materials featuring student leaders and will be featured on Vision Zero’s website and social media channels. Selected student leaders can also challenge their peers to participate in seat belt counts and driving distraction-free challenges to further promote the message of traffic safety. Kidder County has put its focus on distracted driving.
“You see phones everywhere these days,” said Teanna Binder, Kidder County senior. “The last place you want to see a phone is in a driver’s hand on the road. By teaming up with Vision Zero, I think we can end distracted driving in our school for good.”
Young driver inexperience, coupled with immaturity, often results in risk-taking behavior such as speeding, alcohol/drug use, driving distracted, and not wearing a seat belt – all of which contribute to an increased death rate. Teen drivers age 14-19 account for 5% of all licensed drivers but are behind the wheel in nearly 20% of all crashes.
Schools interested in participating in the Vision Zero School program should contact the NDDOT Safety Public Information Program Manager at 701-328-2598.
Learn more about the Vision Zero strategy and its traffic safety campaigns at VisionZero.ND.gov.