Its a stat that might surprise you.
Thus far in 2013, traffic fatalities are actually down from 2012...
It might surprise you because of the seemingly constant news of fatal accidents in our region.
And actually there have been plenty, in fact a large majority of fatalities on the roads this year have come in the Northwest part of the North Dakota -- three counties in particular.
Perry Olson looks at that in this weeks Eye on Energy.
Traffic is up in western North Dakota -- especially the Northwest...and that has led to some staggering numbers thus far through 2013.
Here is a look at traffic fatalities through November 25th statewide: 137 people have died in accidents...that is actually a drop from this point last year, but its where the majority of those deaths have occurred that might grab your attention. The Northwest region alone has seen 73 fatalities...more than the other three regions combined. And three counties stand out as the most dangerous. McKenzie tops the state in deaths with 23, followed by Williams with 22, and Ward with 18 -- Grand Forks, Stark, and Barnes follow...with just six each.
(Capt. Gary Orluck - ND Highway Patrol) "Driving really needs to be 100 percent focused attention."
The first part of November was especially bad on the highways in the Northwest. 8 people were killed in separate accidents during a two week stretch...
(Capt. Gary Orluck - ND Highway Patrol) "Most of them were preventable. People if they would have done something a little bit more different, they would have maybe been paying a little more attention to the road conditions or their condition as well we could have prevented those crashes."
Capt. Orluck says the accidents are so commonplace now, it is providing experience to new troopers faster than ever before...and not in a good way.
(Capt. Gary Orluck - ND Highway Patrol) "You have a one year trooper in western ND who probably has as much crash investigation experience as maybe what used to be a five or ten year trooper would get because of the number of crashes as severity and types."
Orluck's plea is simple...remove distractions while behind the wheel -- and arrive safely, especially as we turn now toward a season where road conditions can quickly deteriorate.
(Capt. Gary Orluck - ND Highway Patrol) "Driving needs to be 100 percent focused..."
Perry Olson, KX News.
In the Northwest region, where there have been 73 fatalities thus far in 2013, 31 of those where alcohol related.