Take Safety into Your Own Hands: Take the No Pass Pledge

By Tessa Sandstrom | July 31, 2013

“There are two seasons in North Dakota: winter and road construction.”

It’s a familiar joke for many of us, and although all North Dakotans revel in our beautiful summers, there are some years when the winters are tough and the springs are long and rainy. It is these years that this quip seems to be more of an adage than just a joke, and this year was one of them as late snowstorms and heavy rains delayed road construction projects and waterlogged gravel roads in western North Dakota.

Summer is finally here, however, and construction crews are busy putting to use the more than $1.5 billion of funding for repairing and rebuilding roads passed by the state legislature,  which included $620 million that was fast-tracked through the legislative session and passed by the governor in February to be used immediately for improvement projects. The funds will be used on major highways in western North Dakota, including for continued construction to convert U.S. Highway 85 between Watford City and Williston into a four-lane highway; roadway improvements along U.S. Highway 2; roadway reconstruction on portions of N.D. Highways 2 and 8; roadway improvements along N.D. Highways 22, 1804 and 1806, and resurfacing on U.S. Highway 52.

These repairs and improvements are no doubt necessary, but they will bring with them more traffic and delays on our busy roads. These added nuisances will make it more important than ever to practice safe driving habits.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council, North Dakota Department of Transportation, North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Motor Carriers Association are again partnering in a public awareness campaign to promote traffic safety in western North Dakota. This “Moving Forward Safely” campaign urges motorists driving in oil country to be patient and exercise caution while traveling. To help educate drivers and keep motorists safe, the campaign focuses on the following key messages: "Pass with Caution.," "Be Patient. Slow Down.," “Roads Shared. Lives Spared.” and “Buckle Up. Every Time.” By following these tips, many crashes can be prevented and lives can be saved.

This year, we are asking motorists to take safe driving a step further. Too often when traveling through oil country, we see motorists making unwise decisions to pass, only to have those same vehicles catch up with them at the next hill or intersection. The perceived benefit of getting to a destination sooner by passing on our busy roadways does not outweigh the risks of putting your and others’ lives in danger. For this reason, the staff and many members of the Petroleum Council have taken a “No Pass Pledge” when traveling in western North Dakota, and we urge you to join us.    

Oil country will continue to be a work in progress for the next few years. While industry is taking steps toward reducing truck traffic by building pipelines, it’s still important that we consider increased traffic on our roads. We all share a responsibility to make sound, cautious decisions when we drive.

Remember that everyone –from farmers to truck drivers to families – is trying to reach their destination safely. The additional traffic makes doing so require a little extra time, but it is an easy thing to plan for. The solution for most traffic safety issues lies with each individual driver. Use caution and avoid distractions. Be patient and share the road. Take the No Pass Pledge and urge your loved ones to do the same. These steps will help make our roadways a safer place to be. North Dakota is a ProgressZone, and while construction continues to improve our infrastructure for future growth, we can take safety into our own hands and help keep North Dakota moving forward safely.

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Author: Tessa Sandstrom
Communications Manager,
North Dakota Petroleum Council
701-557-7744
tsandstrom@ndoil.org