On June 21st Governor Dalrymple proclaimed the third week of June as the 2016 North Dakota Share the Road Safety Week. The idea is that once a year the dedication of these days will spur discussion of roadway safety between the state’s highest officials, members of N.D. Department of Transportation (NDDOT), local authorities, and the public at-large. An opportunity to bring public and private sector together for the common goal of safety and saving lives.
Since the enactment of the 2015 resolution and inaugural proclamation, there have been great strides made. Justin Kristan (Fargo) has begun the process of forming a non-profit statewide coalition focused on roadway safety for all types of transportation and active lifestyles. Titled the N.D. Active Transportation Alliance (NDATA), objectives of the organization include acting as a hub between governmental and private groups, development of education and awareness resources, and advocacy for roadway safety initiatives. Learn more on this upstart group at www.ndactivetransportationalliance.org.
The NDDOT Safety Division has been actively engaged in the development of prevention, education and awareness campaigns to “Drive Distraction Free” through the Code for the Road program, have invited the NDATA to the join efforts in statewide safety meetings, and in general are eager to be a partner in the endeavor to save lives. Promotional campaign materials have begun being shared locally, across the state and online, and an online Crash Memorial page has been created to honor those who’ve died in North Dakota crashes at www.ndcodefortheroad.org.
This year’s ceremony included some very special guests. Amy Miller Hawkinson, wife of Dave Hawkinson, and Ordean Knudson, husband of Lisa Knudson flanked the Governor as he signed this year’s proclamation. Dave and Lisa died two months apart in the summer of 2014 as the result of motorist crashes involving distracted driving. With photos and memories at hand, Amy, Ordean and family members were able to engage the Governor in focused, meaningful discussion on laws, potential gaps for the enforcement of laws, infrastructure needs, and the need to elevate awareness of shared responsibilities for safety.
Other family members attending were Dave’s daughter, Katie; his dad Donald; his brother Don; and his nephew D.J; Lisa’s mom, Betty Karaim; her sister Rachel Payne; and her great-niece Jericka Dryson. I mention the names because it was so important for them to be there, to be recognized, and to have this wonderful opportunity to share their stories.
Following the proclamation ceremony we joined together outside the steps of the Liberty Memorial Building where Chief Justice Gerald Vande Walle and a number of Bismarck community leaders joined us in a walk of solidarity around the Capitol Campus Grounds. The show of support and sunshine warmed us all!
Efforts will continue and the interest grows. Share the Road – shared responsibility – on the road to zero deaths.
Back Row (left to right)
- Justin Kristan (ND Active Transportation Alliance), DJ Hawkinson (David’s nephew), Donald Hawkinson (David’s father), Don Hawkinson (David’s brother), Jericka Dryson (Lisa’s nieces daughter), Rachel Payne (Lisa’s sister), Ashlee Doan (NDDOT), Karin Mongeon (NDDOT)
Front Row (left to right)
- Katie DeGier (David’s daughter), Amy Miller-Hawkinson (David’s spouse), Ordean Knudson (Lisa’s husband), Betty Karaim (Lisa’s mother)