North Carolina Could Minimize Fatal Car Accidents If Everyone Did the Following
It is an unfortunate fact, but car accidents remain a serious problem in North Carolina. According to data provided the University of North Carolina, more than 226,000 accidents occurred in the state in a single recent year. In total, these crashes resulted in 110,525 injuries and 1,277 fatalities.
The total number of car accidents, car accident injuries and car accident fatalities were all up when compared to the previous year. Notably, a substantial percentage of car accidents and serious injuries occurred because of just four issues:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Occupants not wearing seatbelts
By making improvements in these four areas alone, North Carolina could prevent tens of thousands of injuries and save many lives.
DUI-Related Accidents in North Carolina
Drunk driving is a senseless act that takes far too many lives each year. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports that 223 fatal drunk driving accidents occurred in 2014. On top of that, nearly 4,000 people suffered serious injuries in DUI accidents. These accidents are especially tragic because they are entirely preventable.
N.C. Data on Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving has been on the rise in North Carolina and around the country. The use of cellphones and other handheld devices behind the wheel has become a major safety threat. NCDOT reports that in 2014, at least 21.7 percent of accidents involved a distracted driver. However, the agency also notes that the actual number is likely much higher. This is because driver distraction is self-reported.
Accidents Caused by Speeding in North Carolina
NCDOT reports that speeding contributed to approximately 34 percent of all car accident fatalities. To put this figure into perspective, that means that around 400 people in North Carolina are killed each year in speed-related accidents. This figure is particularly striking because speed was a factor in only 8 percent of all car accidents. There is no doubt that high speeds significantly increase the safety risks associated with a collision. Remember, speed limits are there for a reason.
Seatbelt Usage Data
While wearing a seatbelt will obviously not prevent an accident, it could save your life in the event that one does occur. No matter how safe of a driver you are, you are also forced to rely on every other driver on the road. There is always the chance that an accident could occur, and you need to protect yourself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 88 percent of drivers and passengers in North Carolina wear seat belts regularly. It should be 100 percent.
How Many Highway Fatalities Could Be Eliminated in North Carolina
In all, as many as 60 percent of North Carolina highway fatalities could be eliminated if we simply ended drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding – and we got everyone to buckle up. This translates to saving more than 725 lives per year.
We believe that the state can do better. If you have questions about vehicle safety in North Carolina, or if you were injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to contact Riddle & Brantley, LLP for immediate help.