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The first step towards positive change is knowledge, and that’s why the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) releases car accident data. Unfortunately, many residents do not know that this data exists. That’s why Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. created this list of 2019 North Dakota motor vehicle crash data.

North Dakota Motor Vehicle Crash Totals

In 2019, 11,742 motor vehicle crashes took place. Based on 2018’s crash total of 15,264, 2019’s total is a 3,522 annual decrease in accidents. The data states that the crash total in 2019 only accounts for crashes involving fatalities, injuries, or at least $4,000 in property damage starting in August, 2019. However, in 2018, the crash total accounts for accidents involving fatalities, injuries, or at least $1,000 in property damage for the whole year.

Therefore, the decrease in annual crashes from 2018-2019 may stem from the change in how the crashes are reported. In 2018, the crash total was higher than in 2019 because the data included accidents in which at least $1,000 of property damage occurs.

In 2019, the data only includes accidents in which at least $1,000 of property damage occurs before August. Once August came, the NDDOT changed the reportable property damage minimum from $1,000 to $4,000.

Moving on, the five year (2015-2019) accident total was 72,940 accidents. This means an average of 14,588 accidents occurred every year. Now that we’ve covered accidents in general, let’s look at some of the stats for injuries and fatalities.

2019 Injury & Fatality Totals

In 2019, the motor vehicle accident fatality total was the lowest it’s been in five years, however, authorities agree that the total was still too high. In 2019, 100 people were killed in 91 fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Here are the fatality totals of the last five years in order of highest to lowest:

  • 2015 – 131;
  • 2017 – 116;
  • 2016 – 113;
  • 2018 – 105;
  • 2019 – 100.

When added together, 565 people were killed in North Dakota motor vehicle accidents over the last five years.

In 2019, the motor vehicle accident injury total was the lowest it’s been in five years; 3,147 people were injured in auto accidents in 2019.

Here are the injury totals of the last five years in order of highest to lowest:

  • 2015 – 3,679;
  • 2016 – 3.427;
  • 2017 – 3,308;
  • 2018 – 3,154;
  • 2019 – 3,147.

The injury total all but proves that the 2019 accident total mentioned above (11,742) is skewed due to the new reporting change in property damage. This is confirmed when comparing the 2019 property-damage-only accident total (8,504) to the 2018 property damage-only accident total (12,015).

Now that we’ve covered the yearly totals in general, let’s look at county-specific data.

2019 North Dakota Crash Data by County

Crashes occurred in every county in North Dakota in 2019, but there are vast differences among them. In 2019, 3,177 crashes occurred in Cass County, making it the number one location for motor vehicle accidents in North Dakota. On the other end of the spectrum, 3 crashes occurred in Sioux County, making it the lowest total of all counties.

Top five North Dakota motor vehicle crash counties in 2019:

  1. Cass County – 3,177 crashes;
  2. Burleigh County – 2,145 crashes;
  3. Grand Forks County – 1,134 crashes;
  4. Ward County – 761 crashes;
  5. Williams County – 745 crashes.

Unsurprisingly, this data shows that population density is the main factor in motor vehicle accidents, as the top five counties contain the six highest-populated cities in North Dakota (Fargo and West Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, and respectively).

Bottom six North Dakota motor vehicle crash counties in 2019:

  1. Sioux County – 3 crashes;
  2. Steele County – 4 crashes;
  3. Towner County – 6 crashes;
  4. Rolette County – 6 crashes;
  5. Grant County and Slope County – 9 crashes.

Next, let’s take a look at injuries and fatalities by North Dakota Counties.

2019 North Dakota Injury & Fatality Data by County

Unsurprisingly, Cass County had the highest number of motor-vehicle-related injury crashes (824) in 2019. However, the top fatality totals by county depart from the top injury crash totals by county. 10 fatal crashes occurred in McKenzie County in 2019, killing 11 people. This total makes McKenzie County the number one county in regards to motor vehicle fatalities.

Top five injury crash totals by county:

  1. Cass County – 824 crashes;
  2. Burleigh County – 513 crashes;
  3. Grand Forks County – 314 crashes;
  4. Ward County – 226 crashes;
  5. Williams County – 187 crashes.

Again, we can see a correlation between populated cities and injury crashes. However, while the population density is a factor in fatal crashes, it’s not a direct relationship given the data. We see this when we identify that McKenzie County had the eight-highest county crash total, yet was first in fatality totals.

Top fatality totals by county:

  1. McKenzie County – 11 fatalities;
  2. Cass County – 9 fatalities;
  3. Grand Forks County, Williams County, Morton County, Ward County – 6 fatalities.

Lastly, let’s take a look at holiday fatalities over the last five years.

North Dakota Holiday Motor Vehicle Fatalities

Unfortunately, the likelihood of car accident fatalities increases on holidays. However, some holidays are more prone to result in fatalities than others. Let’s look at the top five fatality totals on certain holidays ranging from 2015-2019.

Top five holidays for motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota from 2015-2019:

  1. Labor Day – 9 fatalities;
  2. Memorial Day – 7 fatalities;
  3. Independence Day – 5 fatalities;
  4. Thanksgiving Day – 4 fatalities;
  5. New Year’s Eve – 3 fatalities.

The spike in fatalities is arguably due to the increase in drunk driving on these given holidays. That’s why it’s wise to travel on or after the holiday, rather than on it.

Injured in an Accident?

We hope this data helps you understand how car accidents impact your community and North Dakota as a whole. Unfortunately, knowledge of this data cannot stop other drivers from acting negligently and injuring you.

If you or a loved one suffers injuries due to someone else’s negligence, Pringle & Herigstad is here to help. We offer free consultations for all potential clients, which means you can check out our firm at no cost to you. Call (855) 245-5100 to speak to an attorney about your case!