News Releases

12/3/2016: Traffic-Related Deaths Remembered at Annual Tree of Life Lighting and Candlelight Vigil

Traffic-Related Deaths Remembered at Annual Tree of Life Lighting and Candlelight Vigil

Posted 12/3/2016 9:04:36 AM

RALEIGH– The “Tree of Life” was illuminated this evening on the grounds of the State Capitol in honor of the memory of the 1,387 lives lost on North Carolina highways in 2015. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and law enforcement agencies from across the state joined families and friends of the victims to honor these tragic deaths and to bring awareness safe driving. The tree is lit with 431 red lights memorializing the victims of alcohol-related crashes, 955 white lights commemorating the lives lost in all other vehicle crashes, and 1 blue light recognizing the law enforcement officer who lost his life in a traffic crash. Following the tree lighting, M.A.D.D. held a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died as the result of a drunk driver. “The annual Tree of Life ceremony is our time to honor the victims that lost their lives on North Carolina roads and to use the ceremony as an opportunity to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “Our goal is zero fatalities in North Carolina, and we want to remind everyone who is about to travel for the holidays to buckle-up, travel the posted speed limit and don’t drive impaired.”   Director Nail and M.A.D.D. National Representative LaRonda Scott were joined by several others that spoke about the loss of life due to a traffic-related crash. Angela Thomas spoke on behalf of her son that died due to a distracted driver. Jahlecia Smith expressed the importance of not driving impaired while speaking of her mother, Felicia Harris, her 6-year-old niece, Jahnice Beard, and a friend of her mother, Darlene McGee, that were killed by an impaired driver. N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson spoke to honor DMV License and Theft Bureau Inspector Robert Bowling, who was killed in a traffic crash in Mebane in May 2015. There have been 1,224 fatalities so far this year on North Carolina roadways, which is a slight decrease from the 1,236 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2015. Alcohol-related deaths are down almost 20 percent, with 312 fatalities this year compared to 387 at the same time last year.  The “Tree of Life” will remain on display at the State Capitol through Jan. 5, 2017. ***NCDOT***  
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12/2/2016: 1,961 Safety Belt Violations Cited Over Thanksgiving Holiday

1,961 Safety Belt Violations Cited Over Thanksgiving Holiday

Posted 12/2/2016 11:20:46 AM

RALEIGH – State and local law enforcement officers issued 1,961 seat belt and 340 child passenger violations during the Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign on Nov. 20–26.  “No one ever plans to be in a traffic crash, so the Click It or Ticket campaign is about saving lives and changing the way people think,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “The seat-belt enforcement efforts are about reminding people that failing to buckle-up is not worth risking a ticket, a traffic crash, or your life.” Over the holiday enforcement period, state and local law enforcement agencies held 2,786 checkpoints and stepped-up patrols, issuing 3,209 traffic and criminal violations.  The top five counties for occupant restraint violations were: • Wake County: 210 • Guilford County: 100 • Robeson County: 100 • Forsyth County: 99 • Lenoir County: 96 • Cabarrus County: 90 In its 23rd year, the Click It or Ticket education and enforcement campaign reminds motorists that wearing a seat belt is the single most effective action that a person can take to save their life. The campaign aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years. Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 545 lives were saved per year due to the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles. The overall seat belt usage rate for North Carolina increased from 89.9 percent in 2015 to 91.7 percent in 2016.  The Governor’s Highway Safety Program believes that increased enforcement efforts from law enforcement and the expansion of public awareness campaigns will result in maintaining a high usage rate. For county by county totals and more information regarding the Click It or Ticket program, contact Jonathan Bandy at 919-618-1974, or visit the GHSP website.  ***NCDOT***
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10/14/2016: Safety City Returns to N.C. State Fair

Safety City Returns to N.C. State Fair

Posted 10/14/2016 10:34:53 AM

RALEIGH – The North Carolina State Fair offers more than just funnel cakes and a Ferris wheel. State transportation officials want fairgoers to go home with life-saving knowledge from Safety City, courtesy of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Governor McCrory and the transportation department are committed to making North Carolina roads safer for everyone,” N.C. Transportation Chief Deputy Secretary Walt Gray said. “I encourage everyone who attends the State Fair to visit Safety City and learn how we can work together to save lives.” Safety City is a highway safety “community” housed within the North Carolina State Fair that seeks to decrease roadway injuries and fatalities by educating attendees about highway safety issues. More than 100,000 people are anticipated to visit the attraction during the State Fair on Oct. 13-23. Safety City complements Governor McCrory’s recently-launched NC Vision Zero initiative. The immediate goal of NC Vision Zero is to cut roadway fatalities in half in the next 15 years, with a long term target of zero deaths on North Carolina roadways. This ambitious program brings together multiple agencies and stakeholders to engineer safer roads, educate road users and enforce traffic laws. “Upon entering Safety City, attendees will receive a passport,” said Mark Scaringelli, assistant director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Attendees will receive stamps in their passport by visiting interactive exhibits and hands-on demonstration areas. Those who complete their passport become eligible for prizes.” Each Safety City exhibit is designed to educate and engage visitors on a variety of safety topics. One of the top attractions is the Convincer, a crash simulator that demonstrates the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times. Other areas of Safety City address issues such as child passenger safety, teen driving, speeding, distracted driving and railroad safety. Another popular attraction is the B.A.T. Mobile, which is a Breath Alcohol Testing unit 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. Safety City is staffed by representatives and volunteers from North Carolina government agencies, emergency responders, and state and local law enforcement. Other organizations featured in Safety City include Safe Kids NC, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Watch for Me NC, Be Rail Safe NC, Operation Lifesaver and VIP for a VIP. ***NCDOT***
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10/3/2016: Governor McCrory Launches New Initiative to Eliminate Deaths on North Carolina Roadways

Governor McCrory Launches New Initiative to Eliminate Deaths on North Carolina Roadways

Posted 10/3/2016 1:47:11 PM

RALEIGH – Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson announced a new initiative today championed by Governor Pat McCrory to eliminate deaths on North Carolina’s roadways. NC Vision Zero seeks to bring together multiple agencies and stakeholders to engineer safer roads, educate all road users, and enforce life-saving traffic laws. “My top priority as governor is to ensure the safety of everyone traveling throughout North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “One life lost to a traffic accident is one too many. I believe we can work together to make our roads safer for everyone.” The immediate goal of NC Vision Zero is to cut roadway fatalities and serious injuries in half in the next 15 years, with a long term target of zero deaths on North Carolina roadways. “This is an ambitious goal, but it is not beyond our reach,” said Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “Over the past ten years, we have achieved 148 zero fatality days, including several consecutive days.” In 2015, 1,387 people were killed on North Carolina roads. If the current trend of yearly fatalities continues for the next five years, more than 6,300 lives are at stake. The NC Vision Zero initiative utilizes data analytics to guide traffic safety efforts and educate the public. Safety stakeholders, such as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, are able to use the data to directly link agency enforcement and countermeasure activities with crash reduction goals set forth in Governor McCrory’s Highway Safety Plan. “North Carolinians can make a difference by following the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, and not driving while impaired or distracted,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We have to hold not only ourselves, but others, accountable for risky driving habits. This will help prevent crashes and save lives.” To watch Governor McCrory’s video on NC Vision Zero, click here. More information about NC Vision Zero can be found at http://ncvisionzero.org. Five E's of NC Vision Zero Education to prepare North Carolina drivers through lifelong learning, starting with drivers education programs and continuing through public outreach, including efforts such as Click It or Ticket, Booze It & Lose It, and One Text or Call Could Wreck it All. Enforcement of traffic laws to prevent risky behaviors, such as speeding and impaired driving, through high-visibility efforts by the NC State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement. Engineering vehicles and roadways to prevent crashes and forgive human mistakes. Emergency response to reduce the severity of injuries from a crash through rapid response and treatment. Everyone shares the responsibility of keeping North Carolina roads safe. By following traffic laws, making safe decisions on the road, and advocating for others to do the same, we collectively support a culture which prioritizes safety.  
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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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