Increased Truck Traffic Results in More Accidents. Driving Tips for North Dakota Drivers.

The oil boom in North Dakota has brought in an influx of people to the western part of the state, but it has also brought an increase in truck traffic throughout the state, as well. This increased level of trucking in the Bakken has  created a jump in semi-truck related accidents with drivers and pedestrians injured or killed by the incident.

In the last 10 years, North Dakota’s fatality rate has been significantly higher than the national fatality rate. In 2014 alone, North Dakota saw 122 fatal car crashes and 136 fatalities with 248 total crashes occurring in work zones. The state has recognized this problem and has dedicated 450 million dollars into improving road conditions.


Statistics from the N.D. Department of Transportation 2013 Crash Summary:

  • Pickups, Vans, Utility Vehicles, Trucks and Truck Tractors made up 69% of all N.D. fatal crashes in 2013.
  • In 2013, ND had a fatality rate of 1.47, compared to the national fatality rate of 1.11.
  • 76 of 133 N.D. fatal crashes in 2013 had alcohol/drugs/medication as a factor.
  • 36 of 133 N.D. fatal crashes in 2013 listed speed as a contributing factor.
  • Burleigh Country has the highest crash rate per million vehicle miles travelled.
  • McKenzie County had the greatest number of fatal crashes in 2013.
  • Outside of N.D.’s major cities (Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot), Williston had the most reported crashes in 2013.

Tips for Driving Safely Around Trucks

Just like anyone else on the road there are both great truck drivers, as well as bad ones. Take safety into your own hands and know what to do when passing a large truck.

  1. Trucks Have Blind Spots Everywhere – The passenger side of a semi has far more blind spots than the driver’s side. When passing a truck, try to always pass on the left side and do it quickly to get back in the trucker’s vision points.
  2. Pass Quickly – Pass as quickly as possible to get out of blind spots. The trucker might not even know you’re there. Hug the outside part of the lane when passing to give the truck as much room as possible.
  3. Don’t Cut In Front – After passing, don’t immediately cut in front a truck. Depending on the speed, it may take a truck the length of 3 football fields to come to a complete stop. Cutting in front of a large truck is also illegal in many states!
  4. Don’t Ride Them – The back of a truck is a complete blind spot, so give them plenty of room to slow down if they must brake quickly. Trucks might need to swerve or brake to avoid hitting road debris so always stay a safe distance back.
  5. Trucks Swerve Lanes – Winds make trucks very difficult to control. A loaded truck in heavy winds can unexpectedly drift into your lane, so make sure you keep your distance during these conditions, especially when passing.
  6. Truckers Try Their Best – Driving behind trucks can get very frustrating, especially if you’re in a hurry. Know that the majority of truckers try their best to drive as safely and responsibly as possible. Visit this blog to learn more about why truckers drive the way they do.

Having an accident with commercial trucks almost always leads to injuries. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed in a trucking related accident, contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss Attorneys to seek out legal help and services.

Don’t forget to drive safely and call the North Dakota Travel Information hotline for road and traffic conditions before traveling through areas with heavy truck traffic.

Image courtesy of Texas Workers Compensation/Google.