Too many cars on side of the roadThere is an increase in abandoned vehicles along western North Dakota roads and that can be dangerous, officials say.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
There is an increase in abandoned vehicles along western North Dakota roads and that can be dangerous, officials say.
“We are finding a few more than we were finding five years ago,” North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Norman Ruud said, adding the count for abandoned cars in Dickinson has increased by 10 percent from last year.
Ruud has concerns with cars left on road, especially with the increase in traffic from an oil boom in western North Dakota.
“If they are left overnight, they are not easily seen,” Ruud said. “People can run into them.”
He referred to an accident near Sterling when a semi-truck hit an abandoned car on Interstate 94 two weeks ago. The driver lost control and rolled the semi on top of the vehicle, flattening it.
Ruud said another issue is cars left on two-lanes, like the busy Highway 22 and Highway 85.
“They can become hazardous rapidly just because there is so much traffic out there,” Ruud said. “The sides of the highway could start to look like a used car lot.”
The Stark County Sheriff’s Department has also seen an increase. Cars that are less than seven years old that are deemed abandoned are sold during a public auction. The Sheriff’s Department will sell several abandoned vehicles at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Stark County Courthouse.
When an abandoned vehicle is identified, law enforcement places an orange marker on it. Lt. Jody Skogen said the Highway Patrol sends a notification to the owner, alerting them they have 48 hours to move it.
If the vehicle is at the same location when an officer returns, it is taken to a local towing facility. The owner has 15 days to claim it or risk it being sold or crushed.