Traffic fatalities have decreased nationwide, but not in North Carolina
From 2017-2018, the United States saw a 2.4 percent drop in traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the first half 0f 2019 will show a further decline of 3.4 percent. This sounds like great news, right? Not if you live in North Carolina. Here's why.
Rise in traffic fatalities across North Carolina
While the U.S. has had an overall decrease in the number of traffic fatalities in 2018, North Carolina had a 3.3 percent increase from the previous year — a rate of 13.89 per 100,000 people.
A total of 1,442 people were killed on North Carolina roads — a rate of 13.89 per 100,000 people. Another 125,454 sustained injuries.
Out of those who lost their lives:
- 7 were out-of-state drivers
- 17 were bicyclists
- 225 were pedestrians
- 168 were motorcyclists
The leading causes of North Carolina traffic fatalities included:
- Speeding — 21.6% of all fatalities
- Drunk driving — 28.5% of all fatalities
- Lane departures — 52.3% of all fatalities
- Distracted driving — 8.4% of all fatalities
In 2018, North Carolina was ranked one of the worst states in the nation for fatal crashes, based on 2017 data. This placed the Tar Heel State just behind Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia.
The danger to pedestrians and bicyclists increases
With emerging automotive designs and the advent of semi-autonomous safety features, cars have become safer. Pedestrians and bicyclists, however, aren't afforded the luxury of advanced driver assistance systems, side airbags, or front ends designed to absorb impact.
Furthermore, our roadways are often designed to accommodate high-speed vehicle traffic, not pedestrians or bicyclists.
Nationally, pedestrian deaths rose by 3.4 percent in 2018. Bicyclist deaths rose 6.3 percent.
Earlier this year, three areas of Wilmington were identified in by WECT 6 News as being particularly dangerous for pedestrians. According to the Wilmington Police Department, more than 150 pedestrians were struck throughout Wilmington from January 23, 2016 to April 15, 2019 — 15 of the incidents occurred from January 1 to April 15, 2019.
The most dangerous areas for pedestrians include:
- The area of Walmart and Market Street — 31 pedestrian accidents
- The area around UNCW, Sam's Club, and Dick's Sporting Goods on South College Road — 8 pedestrian accidents
- Carolina Beach Road near Legion Stadium — 6 pedestrian accidents
“It’s pretty year-round. When it gets really cold, they slow down a little bit but as long as it’s warm in the evening, we have pedestrian wrecks,” said Cpl. Adam Schwartzel with the WPD traffic unit.
Wilmington attorney fighting for the rights of crash victims
The roads and streets in greater Wilmington can be dangerous for all road users. The Law Offices of Richard Flexner urges everyone to stay safe.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash because of someone else's reckless or negligent behavior, our legal team can help you pursue a strong legal claim. To find out how, contact us online schedule your free case evaluation. Don't wait.