Raleigh - The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, N.C. Transportation Now, which can be viewed by clicking here.
Governor Pat McCrory's "Driving Change" Initiative Reaches Milestone
As a part of Governor Pat McCrory's "Driving Change" initiative to better serve North Carolinians, the Division of Motor Vehicles began offering online renewal of driver licenses last year. As of May 20, more than 355,000 North Carolina drivers have now renewed their licenses online, resulting in customer time savings of nearly 178,000 hours. Governor McCrory applauded this milestone and invited other drivers to give it a try and join the thousands of residents who have found it quicker and more convenient to renew their license with a credit or debit card and have it delivered right to their door.
Online renewal is just one of the changes the McCrory administration has introduced over the past two-and-a-half years through the governor's initiative. It has modernized and enhanced offices by adopting new equipment to speed driver license transactions and recently began accepting credit and debit card payments for the first time, among other efforts to improve customer service and reduce wait times
NC Launches "Click It or Ticket" Campaign to Encourage Safety and Save Lives
This week, North Carolina kicked off its "Click It or Ticket" education and enforcement program. The campaign began May 23 and continues through June 5. Now in its 23rd year, "Click It or Ticket" aims to increase seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across the state. During the campaign, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement officers to keep those who drive our highways safe.
Governor McCrory has also proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month.
In 2015, 415 people who were not using seat belts were killed and an additional 436 others were seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina. During that same year, nearly 42 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities were unrestrained.
Transportation Officials Highlight the Importance of Work Zone Safety to Prevent Injuries and Fatalities
Governor McCrory also brought attention to the importance of highway safety by declaring as April Work Zone Safety Awareness month, and as summer construction season begins, we all need to do our part when driving through work zones. Secretary Nick Tennyson and officials from the Associated General Contractors of America joined the contractor at the Eastern Loop project in Greensboro this week, where they echoed Governor McCrory's call for better awareness of the importance of work zone safety.
At the event, the AGC released the results of a national study that shows that 43 percent of highway contractors in North Carolina report motor vehicles crashed into their work zones during the past year. In 2015, there were more than 4,600 work zone crashes in North Carolina, resulting in 19 deaths and nearly 2,500 people injured. Three of the fatalities were construction workers. Tragically, this year we have already seen 10 more fatalities, including two contractor employees, and close to 1,000 injuries.
Officials reminded drivers to Drive Smart, Do Your Part. Obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road when you see construction signs and orange barrels. In addition to the initial ticket and court costs, a conviction for speeding in a designated work zone in North Carolina will bring an additional fine of $250. Workers do not need to be present in a work zone for a speeder to be cited.NC By Train Offering $5 Kids Fares this Summer
Families looking for a fun outing this summer can enjoy a special $5 kids fare to travel the rails. NC By Train is offering this special one-way fare through Aug. 31.