News Releases

10/20/2017: This Week at NCDOT: Deer Driving Safety and Highway Dedication

This Week at NCDOT: Deer Driving Safety and Highway Dedication

Posted 10/20/2017 9:55:00 AM

RALEIGH – The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured in NCDOT Now, the Department’s weekly newscast. Deer Driving Safety Tips With the daylight hours becoming shorter and the weather getting cooler, the N.C. Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to keep an eye out for deer while on the road. Last year in North Carolina, there were nearly 18,000 animal-related crashes, most of which involved deer. That brings the total over the past three years to nearly 54,000 collisions, killing 14 people, injuring over 3,000 and causing $136 million in property damage. For the fourteenth year in a row, Wake County led the state in the number of animal-vehicle crashes with 730, followed by Pitt County with 550 and Guilford County which had 549 crashes. Counties in the western part of the state have fewer drivers and roads, meaning less animal crashes. Graham County had just eight, while Swain County had 10. To keep you and your family safe this fall, remember to: Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon or early evening; Don’t swerve to avoid a collision with deer as this could cause you to lose control or veer into oncoming traffic; and Deer often travel in groups, so assume if one crosses the road in front of you there may be others following For more safety tips, visit NCDOT.gov. Jimmy Goins Highway Dedication A special ceremony was recently held in Maxton to dedicate a portion of N.C. 71 after the late Jimmy Goins, who was killed in a car crash in 2015. Goins was an army veteran and chairman of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina from 2004 until 2010. He was praised for helping revitalize its culture and quality of life. Joined by more than 100 people, Goins’ wife Diane and loved ones unveiled the Jimmy Goins Highway sign during the ceremony while Grady Hunt, the first Lumbee to serve on the N.C. Board of Transportation, emceed the event.
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10/19/2017: Safety City Seeks to Educate State Fair Attendees on Traffic Safety

Safety City Seeks to Educate State Fair Attendees on Traffic Safety

Posted 10/19/2017 9:48:08 AM

RALEIGH – “Safety City” is a highway safety “community” at the N.C. State Fair that seeks to decrease roadway injuries and fatalities by educating attendees about highway safety issues. Sponsored by the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Safety City has more than 100,000 people visit the attraction each year. “We set-up Safety City each year to educate our citizens on highway safety,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Once an attendee enters Safety City they will receive a passport to get stamped to become eligible for prizes by visiting interactive exhibits and hands-on demonstration areas.”  Safety City is supported by representatives and volunteers from North Carolina government agencies, emergency responders, and state and local law enforcement. The Institute for Transportation Research and Education, Forensic Tests for Alcohol, Safe Kids NC, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Watch for Me NC, Be Rail Safe NC and Operation Lifesaver all exhibit during the 10-day event.  Each Safety City exhibit is designed to educate and engage visitors on a variety of safety topics. One of the top attractions is the Impaired Driving Simulator, a virtual reality simulator that demonstrates the importance of not driving after drinking. Other areas of Safety City address issues such as speeding, seat belt use, child passenger safety, teen driving, distracted driving and railroad safety. Safety City complements the 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. ***NCDOT***
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10/16/2017: Parents Are Encouraged to Protect Teen Drivers by Encouraging “5 to Drive”

Parents Are Encouraged to Protect Teen Drivers by Encouraging “5 to Drive”

Posted 10/16/2017 1:55:15 PM

RALEIGH - Governor Cooper has proclaimed Oct. 15 – 21 as Teen Driver Safety Week to highlight motor vehicle crashes as being the leading cause of death of teenagers in North Carolina, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence.  The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program is stressing the importance of parental engagement with their teenagers before they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle by reminding them to “5 to Drive.” The “5 to Drive” campaign gives parents tips on how to talk about safe driving with their teens and to address the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers. “Parents have a very convincing influence on their teens, even as they grow older and become more independent,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.  “We are encouraging parents and caregivers to have the conversation with their teen drivers about risky driving behaviors that can lead to serious injuries or even death.” In 2016, 87 teenaged drivers ages 15 to 19 years old were killed and another 10,453 were injured in North Carolina.  Forty-two of those killed were not using their seat belt at the time of the crash and 49 were speeding. This year to date, 48 teens have lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes. North Carolina’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program is a multi-layered program designed to ease teen novice drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. The program places certain restrictions on teenagers under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses, and requires parental involvement and stresses the importance of a good driving behavior. Parents can find more information about talking to their young drivers at https://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/fivetodrive.htm ***NCDOT***  
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10/16/2017: New River Class Vehicle Ferry to be Built

New River Class Vehicle Ferry to be Built

Posted 10/16/2017 1:53:25 PM

(MANNS HARBOR) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded a $9.7 million contract for construction of a new river class vehicle ferry for the N.C. Ferry Division. The vessel is due to be delivered by March 1, 2019. “This is a great first step in phasing out our smaller boats and replacing them with larger ones,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “Eventually it will allow us to increase our capacity with the same number of scheduled trips.” The new ferry will be 183 feet long and have room for 38 regular-sized vehicles.  It will serve as a replacement for the 22-year-old M/V Thomas A. Baum, a Hatteras-class ferry that carries 26 vehicles. The contract was awarded to Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana. The project was funded by State Transportation Improvement Project (STIP) money awarded by the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization. Once built, the new vessel will be the Ferry Division’s first new car ferry since the M/V Sea Level was christened in 2012. (NCDOT)
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10/12/2017: Animal Collisions Dramatically Increase as Temperatures Cool Down; Nearly 18,000 animal-related crashes in N.C. last year

Animal Collisions Dramatically Increase as Temperatures Cool Down; Nearly 18,000 animal-related crashes in N.C. last year

Posted 10/12/2017 9:59:18 AM

RALEIGH — Autumn in North Carolina is the time of the year when deer start showing up in greater numbers along the state’s roadways, which means the greater chance for a collision with vehicles. The number of animal-vehicle collisions in North Carolina in 2016 was 17,901, just 136 fewer than the year before. That put the total over the past three years at close to 54,000 collisions, a great majority being with deer. The N.C. Department of Transportation’s latest study on animal collisions shows those crashes killed 14 people, seriously injured 51 others, resulted in 3,356 overall injuries, and caused nearly $136 million in property damage. “This time of year, it is especially important for all of us to watch for deer,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. For the 14th year in a row, Wake County led the state in the number of animal-related crashes with 730, which was a drop of more than 100 from 2015. But it was also 180 more crashes than the runner-up, Pitt County. And over the past three years, Wake County had over 730 more animal-related crashes than any other county. The high number is attributed to the increasing number of drivers and road mileage in the county, which still has considerable wooded acreage. Guilford County had the third-highest figure at 549 crashes, followed by Duplin, Union, Mecklenburg, Columbus, Randolph, Brunswick and Forsyth counties. Counties in the far western part of the state have fewer drivers and roads, so they again had the lowest number of animal crashes. Graham County had just eight, while Swain County had 10. Deer are on the roadways more during the fall into early winter due to the hunting and mating seasons. They also tend to travel more during times when it is tougher to see them, at dawn and at dusk. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, it increases the chance of deer being by roadways when more drivers are on the road for the morning and afternoon commutes. Traditionally, November records the highest number of animal-related crashes at nearly 22 percent of the annual total over the last three years, followed by October, December and January. The most crashes came in the evening between 5 p.m. and midnight, with 50 percent of the overall total. In addition to being the time when deer are more likely to be moving about and crossing roads, it is when decreased driver visibility makes it more difficult to see the animals on or near roadways. The Department of Transportation has some tips for motorists to avoid being in a deer-vehicle crash: Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening; Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in deer-vehicle crashes were not wearing their seat belt; Statistics indicate most deer-vehicle crashes occur in areas where deer are more likely to travel, such as near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches; Drive with high beams on when possible, and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights; Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that if you see one deer cross the road in front of you, there won’t be others following; Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away; Increase the distance between your vehicle and other cars, especially at night. If the car ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash; Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, and flipping it over, veering it into oncoming traffic or overcorrecting and running off the road, causing a more serious crash; Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles or reflectors to deter deer as these devices have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle crashes; and If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road if possible, and call 911. ***NCDOT***
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