Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH – Road safety in North Carolina took a turn for the better in 2019.
North Carolina’s traffic deaths decreased by 4.4 percent in 2019, according to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This decrease is nearly twice the national rate.
According to the report, 1,373 people were killed in North Carolina traffic crashes in 2019 — 63 less than in 2018.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority so it’s encouraging anytime we experience fewer deaths on our roads,” said N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “But we will not be satisfied until we have no traffic fatalities. Everyone must do their part and commit to safe driving practices such as wearing seat belts, slowing down, avoiding distractions and not driving while impaired.”
Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said it’s more important than ever for people to be vigilant about safe driving.
“This decrease is significant,” Ezzell said. “There were 63 fewer funerals in North Carolina in 2019. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program and our partners are going to work hard to reinforce just how important it is that everyone does their part to keep our roads safe.”
The NHTSA report, part of the comprehensive Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), showed that across the country, traffic fatalities are down 2 percent from the reported 36,835 fatalities in 2018, even though vehicle miles traveled increased by nearly 1 percent.
“We still have a long way to go, and preliminary reports about traffic safety during COVID look less promising,” Ezzell said. “That’s why we keep spreading the same safety messages that we know can make such a difference — wear a seat belt, drive sober and obey the speed limit!”