News Releases

4/13/2017: State Officials Launch Campaign to Reduce Speed-Related Traffic Fatalities

State Officials Launch Campaign to Reduce Speed-Related Traffic Fatalities

Posted 4/13/2017 1:08:10 PM

RALEIGH – Speeding on roadways has become one of the most dangerous traffic-related issues in North Carolina. In 2016, speeding was the cause of 369 fatalities and 18,956 crashes. The North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program and the Department of Transportation are launching the “Speed a Little. Lose a Lot.” campaign, which runs from April 13-23. The campaign reminds drivers that there is no reason to speed because the consequences could be more than just getting a ticket. “Too many lives are lost each year in speeding-related crashes, and we are determined to change that,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Any time drivers speed, they are putting themselves, their passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians at risk.” In 2016, speeding was a contributing factor in 24.1 percent of all fatal crashes in North Carolina, which was a 4.8 percent increase over the previous year.  During last year’s anti-speed campaign there were 43 fatalities, including 12 speed-related deaths. "We are glad to partner with other law enforcement agencies during this campaign to obtain the common goal of saving lives", said Col. Glenn McNeill, commander of the State Highway Patrol. “Speed-related deaths and injuries are totally preventable.” Nearly 90 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities in North Carolina occurred on local roads -- where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or under. The “Speed a Little. Lose a Lot.” campaign 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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4/4/2017: North Carolina Reminds Motorists One Text or Call Could Wreck It All

North Carolina Reminds Motorists One Text or Call Could Wreck It All

Posted 4/4/2017 4:00:21 PM

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program has launched its annual One Text or Call Could Wreck It All campaign to encourage motorists to not drive distracted. The campaign reminds those behind the wheel of a vehicle that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.  “The number of crashes caused by distracted driving is on the rise,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Drivers need to realize the danger involved and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”  Last year in North Carolina, 177 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 26,962 were injured. This is a nine percent increase over the previous year in the number of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving. North Carolina law bans all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, for bus drivers and all drivers under the age of 18 years old, and bans texting and emailing for drivers of all ages. Governor Roy Cooper recently proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program in partnering with AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign to visit high schools in Durham, Greensboro, Wilmington, and Charlotte to educate students about distracted driving. "We are excited to be working with the Governor's Highway Safety Program to help spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving," said Venessa Harrison, President of AT&T North Carolina. "There simply is no text, tweet, email, search or post which is so urgent that it can't wait until it can be done safely." It Can Wait is AT&T’s national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by a driver who is distracted by their mobile device. Through virtual reality technology, students will experience the consequences of texting while driving. For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov. ***NCDOT***
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4/3/2017: Drive Smart, Do Your Part to Save Lives in Roadway Work Zones

Drive Smart, Do Your Part to Save Lives in Roadway Work Zones

Posted 4/3/2017 4:25:37 PM

Drive Smart, Do Your Part to Save Lives in Roadway Work Zones National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 3-7 RALEIGH – Warmer weather means that drivers will see more transportation workers on the state’s roads and highways as a new construction season begins. To remind everyone to do their part to keep North Carolina’s work zones safe, Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed April as Work Zone Awareness Month and April 3-7 as Work Zone Awareness Week. The N.C. Department of Transportation urges motorists to Drive Smart. Do Your Part. when driving in a work zone. The campaign asks drivers to obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions, watch for workers, and expect the unexpected in work zones. “How you drive is the most important part of keeping our work zones safe,” Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said. “Your actions behind the wheel can determine the safety of our workers, your passengers, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Slow down and don’t drive distracted." There are more than 600 active work zones across the state. Work zones are not limited to interstate and highway construction. Utility and road maintenance sites are also considered work zones. In North Carolina, there were 21,398 crashes that resulted in 103 fatalities in work zones from 2012 to 2016.  Twenty-four people were killed in 2016, including two workers. NCDOT reminds drivers to follow these tips to keep work zones safe: Pay close attention to signs and work zone flaggers. Watch out for road debris. Turn on your headlights so workers and other motorists can see you. Do not tailgate. Obey the posted speed limits in and around a work zone. Do not change lanes in a work zone. Minimize distractions: Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones while driving in a work zone. Expect the unexpected: Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment. When possible, use alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion. Leave early to get a head start on your drive and travel at non-peak times. To learn more about work zone safety in North Carolina, visit the NCDOT Work Zone Safety Program’s website. ***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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