BISMARCK, N.D.–The North Dakota Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol say for the first time in 15 years, the state could end the year with less than 100 fatalities on North Dakota roads, something that hasn’t happened since 2002 when the fatality count was 97.

“This is a big deal for North Dakota because these numbers represent our family, friends, and members of the community. One person lost is one too many and the sooner we recognize vehicle fatalities as preventable and not tolerable, the sooner we’ll reach the goal of Vision Zero,” said Safety Division Director Karin Mongeon.

The Vision Zero Plan uses education, enforcement, engineering, emergency medical services, and other disciplines to reduce motor vehicle fatalities over time, with the first goal to decrease fatalities to 75 or fewer by 2025. Remaining under 100 is a significant step towards the goal of zero motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads.

“All drivers need to remember that personal responsibility behind the wheel means always wearing their seat belt, driving sober, and distraction-free,” said Highway Patrol Sgt. Wade Kadrmas. “Zero may seem like an unachievable goal, but when it comes to your life or the lives of your family, is any other number acceptable?”

The current fatality count is 93. Last year in the same time period in 2018 the count was 96.

The final number of deaths last year was 105.