News Releases

5/22/2017: Click It or Ticket Campaign is Underway

Click It or Ticket Campaign is Underway

Posted 5/22/2017 2:31:48 AM

RALEIGH – As summer kicks off and families hit the road for vacations, the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep you and your family safe, the national seat belt campaign will take place through June 4, concurrent with one of the busiest holiday travel weekends of the year. “Our law enforcement personnel see firsthand the loss of life when people refuse to buckle up,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “It’s such a simple thing, and it should be an automatic next step after sitting down in a vehicle.” In 2016, 452 people were killed and an additional 601 others were seriously injured who were not using seat belts in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina. During that same year, 42 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities were unrestrained. "Keeping motorists safe while they travel across North Carolina is our number one priority", said Col. Glenn McNeill, commander of the State Highway Patrol.  "Using a seatbelt while traveling offers significant protection if involved in a collision. The public can assist us in combating fatalities by simply buckling up." To complement the enforcement efforts, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program produced several public service announcements to stress the importance of wearing a seat belt in Every seat, Every time. It’s the law.  The advertisements are running through the end of May on radio, internet radio, and social media.  Governor Roy Cooper has also proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this Memorial Day holiday, follow these safety tips when you travel: • Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time. • Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you have a sober designated driver. • Obey the posted speed limit. • Keep a safe following distance. • Turn on your headlights in the rain. • Put away all distractions including cell phones – One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time. It’s the law. ***NCDOT***
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5/18/2017: North Carolinians Encouraged to Buckle Up in Every Seat, Every Time

North Carolinians Encouraged to Buckle Up in Every Seat, Every Time

Posted 5/18/2017 6:38:38 PM

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month to remind motorists and their passengers about the importance of buckling up in every seat, every time.  In 2016, 42 percent of automobile fatalities in North Carolina were drivers or passengers who were not wearing their seat belt.  The Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s 2016 Annual Statewide Seat Belt Survey reported that 91.7 percent of front seat drivers and passengers wear their seat belt.  Unfortunately, unrestrained serious injuries increased in North Carolina from 437 in 2015 to 601 in 2016. Unrestrained fatalities also increased from 417 to 452 in that same period. “No matter the type of vehicle or where you sit, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way protect yourself in a crash,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We must continue to spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed because of not buckling up.” North Carolina law requires occupants in the front and rear seats of a passenger vehicle to be properly restrained by using a seat belt. Many passengers mistakenly believe that they are safer in the rear seat and do not need to wear a seat belt.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 57 percent of those killed in back seats in 2015 were unrestrained. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program is partnering with state and local law enforcement to conduct their annual Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign around the Memorial Day holiday.  To help share the Click It or Ticket message, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program will run a creative marketing campaign throughout the month to remind travelers to Click It or Ticket. Every Seat. Every Time. It’s the Law. ***NCDOT***
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5/1/2017: Share the Road With Motorcycles

Share the Road With Motorcycles

Posted 5/1/2017 3:00:02 PM

RALEIGH – In an effort to reduce the increase in motorcycle fatalities on North Carolina roadways, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The N.C Governor’s Highway Safety Program and BikeSafe North Carolina strongly encourages motorists to share the road and watch closely for motorcycles, especially at intersections and when changing lanes. They also remind riders to practice safe riding. “Part of our duty as drivers is to always be aware of our surroundings on the road,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.“Motorcycles are especially vunerable because they don’t have the standard safety features found in cars and trucks. We are urging drivers to please keep an eye out for their fellow roadway users and share the road.” Motorcyclists are nearly five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than any other vehicle. A rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury. In in 2016, there were 3,644 motorcycle-related crashes that resulted in 152 fatalities and 385 serious injuries. This was a 10 percent reduction from 2015, when there were 169 rider fatalities.  However, so far in 2017 there has been a 30 percent increase in fatalities from the same time of a year ago.  BikeSafe North Carolina invites motorcyclists to participate in a free “Rider Skills Day” class that offers an assessment of current driving skills and provides advice to help make their experience as a motorcyclist safer and more enjoyable. For more information, including a full schedule of classes, visit http://www.bikesafenc.com. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program urges motorcyclists and other drivers to follow the following safety tips: Motorcyclists: Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear; Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed; Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn; Wear brightly colored clothes, gear, and reflective tape to increase visibility; Obey the posted speed limit; and Never ride distracted or impaired. Other drivers: Share the road. Motorcyclists have the right to a full lane; Stay alert and be aware that motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car's blind spot, so take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic when changing lanes, especially at intersections; Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic; Keep a safe distance by allowing more following space – three to four seconds – behind motorcycles; Be cautious, as not all turn signals on a motorcycle are self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change; Obey the posted speed limit; and Never drive distracted or impaired. BikeSafe North Carolina complements the NC Vision Zero initiative, which aims to save lives on North Carolina roadways. The goal is to reach zero traffic-related fatalities through coordinated agency-to-agency efforts that help reduce risky driving behaviors by changing the overall traffic safety culture. No loss of life is acceptable. ***NCDOT***
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12/22/2016: Governor’s Highway Safety Program – A Year of Reducing Traffic-Related Fatalities

Governor’s Highway Safety Program – A Year of Reducing Traffic-Related Fatalities

Posted 12/22/2016 12:47:23 AM

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program made significant strides with several projects and initiatives launched in 2016 to reduce traffic-related crashes and fatalities on our roadways.   “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish this year in traffic safety,” GHSP Director Don Nail said. “Because of Governor Pat McCrory’s NC Vision Zero initiative, we are now able to bring together multiple agencies and stakeholders to engineer safer roads, educate road users on safe driving practices, and enforce life-saving traffic laws.” The NC Vision Zero initiative utilizes data analytics to guide traffic safety efforts and educate the public. Safety stakeholders, such as state and local law enforcement, are able to use the data to directly link agency enforcement and countermeasure activities.  The initial goal is to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries in half in the next 15 years, with a long-term target of zero deaths on North Carolina roadways. In addition to the launch of NC Vision Zero, GHSP funded a total of 109 projects for state, local and nonprofit agencies. These projects focused on several areas that affect highway safety including, but not limited to, alcohol-impaired driving, occupant protection, speeding, young drivers, motorcycle safety, older drivers, school bus safety, pedestrians, bicyclists, and traffic records.  Following are key highlights of GHSP’s program areas: Occupant Protection GHSP reported a record 91.7 percent seatbelt usage rate according to its annual survey conducted by RTI International. This means that more than nine of out 10 North Carolinians are taking the time to buckle up when getting in a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standard is 90 percent. North Carolina’s Click It or Ticket campaign is still the national model for education and enforcement programs that remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The program, which started 23 years ago, aims to increase driver seatbelt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina. It has yielded significant results over the years.  Impaired Driving Fatalities resulting from of an impaired driver are down 19.6 percent, compared to 2015, with 329 deaths in North Carolina so far this year. In its 22nd year, the Booze It & Lose It education and enforcement campaign has created increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the penalties associated with driving while impaired. GHSP has awarded grants to DWI Task Force teams that work nightly to catch impaired drivers. The DWI Task Force teams are in Brunswick, Buncombe, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Union, Wake and Wayne counties. GHSP added two new units to the B.A.T. Mobile program, which is a Breath Alcohol Testing vehicle equipped with a mobile lab and a magistrate’s courtroom.  B.A.T. mobile units are used at checkpoints throughout the state to identify and remove impaired drivers from roadways.  GHSP expanded the fleet so that the program can be regionally based and more efficient.  The program is administrated through the Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.   To help with efficient prosecution of impaired driving cases, GHSP funded three Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors to conduct training for prosecutors, law enforcement, magistrates, judges and other traffic safety professionals.   Motorcycle Safety GHSP sponsors the BikeSafe NC initiative to reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities.  This program offers training to experienced riders who are interested in improving their riding skills and riding techniques. The training is conducted by law enforcement motor officers in a non-threatening, non-enforcement environment.  There is no charge for these classes.  BikeSafe NC held 145 classes this year in 21 counties training over 490 riders. Education and Enforcement Campaigns GHSP sponsored 17 educational and enforcement campaigns in which 80 percent of law enforcement agencies statewide participated. More than 100 agencies in North Carolina participated in all the campaigns, which include Click It or Ticket, Booze It & Lose It and Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine programs. More than 24,000 saturation patrols were completed, resulting in over 7,000 DWI arrests, 24,000 occupant restraint tickets, 88,000 speeding violations and 5,000 felony arrests.  2017 Preview Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, GHSP will continue to serve as a leader for improving traffic safety in North Carolina through its own education campaigns and initiatives while funding evidence-based, innovative, and results-oriented programs. The achievements to date have been the result of a wide range of education, enforcement, and other safety initiatives in our state, and can be credited to the hard work and dedication of many agencies and individuals including law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, educators, researchers, community groups and safety advocates. “We are confident that our efforts during 2016 and the launch of NC Vision Zero will help accomplish our goal of reducing crashes and saving lives on our streets and highways,” Nail concluded. In March 2017, North Carolina will host the Lifesavers Conference in Charlotte. The conference is the largest meeting of highway safety professionals in the country. More than 2,000 participants will gather for three days to discuss best practices, new initiatives and countermeasures aimed at reducing roadway incidents.
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One of the Governor's Highway Safety Program's  key accomplishments in 2016 was the launch of Governor Pat McCrory's NC Vision Zero initiative to eliminate deaths on North Carolina roadways. ***NCDOT***
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8/31/2016: North Carolina Motorists Buckling Up in Record Numbers

North Carolina Motorists Buckling Up in Record Numbers

Posted 8/31/2016 10:43:24 AM

Raleigh - Governor Pat McCrory announced that a record 91.7 percent of North Carolinians are buckling up and regularly using seat belts, according to recent a survey conducted by RTI International. “North Carolina is a leader in educating the public about the dangers of not wearing a seat belt while in the car, and our rising seat belt usage rate reflects the state’s ongoing commitment to roadway safety and saving lives,” Governor McCrory said. “We will continue to do all we can to educate the public about the dangers of not buckling up to prevent traffic-related injuries and fatalities.” In 1993, North Carolina became the first state to implement Click It or Ticket, an education and enforcement program to remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The program aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years. “Our seat belt usage rate shows that more than nine out of ten North Carolinians are taking the time to buckle up when getting in a motor vehicle,” said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We will continue educating drivers and passengers on the lifesaving importance of wearing your seat belt. North Carolina’s goal is for every seat to buckle up every time.” RTI International conducted the seat belt survey in 25 counties in June to determine North Carolina’s overall seat belt usage rate, as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The selection of counties was based on fatality and road segment data.  According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey conducted annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the national seat belt use rate in 2015 was 88.5 percent, up from 86.7 in 2014. North Carolina’s seat belt use rate last year was 89.9 percent. Under North Carolina law, all drivers and passengers must have a seat belt fastened when a vehicle is being driven on a street or highway. Failure to wear a seat belt carries a fine of $179, and child passenger violations carries a fine of $263. ***NCDOT***  
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