Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH – The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program is reminding all drivers of the importance of safe driving practices this week as COVID-19 restrictions ease around the state.
Thousands of drivers usually take to the road in early October in search of their last warm-weather adventure of the year. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), southeastern states see a higher numbers of fatal crashes during the first two weeks of October than the holiday periods of Thanksgiving or Memorial Day.
“For several years now, we have had this troubling trend in this East Coast region,” NHTSA Regional Administrator Stephanie Hancock said. “We know that speed, distraction, and impairment are the root causes of most of the crashes in these states. However, seat belt and child safety seat use are your primary sources of protection in crashes caused by a speeding, impaired, or distracted driver.”
The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is reminding all drivers of the importance of safe driving practices this week and all month long.
“While there may be less road trips overall as festivals, games and community activities have been cancelled or reimagined due to the impacts of COVID-19, the risk of being involved in a crash is still as present as in previous years,” GHSP Director Mark Ezzell said.
GHSP is working with law enforcement to raise awareness of safe driving through “Operation Crash Reduction” from October 9-12.
“During this time frame we’ll be checking for seat belt use across the state, while educating drivers and passengers on the importance of wearing a seat belt,” said Bill Hollingsed, executive director of the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police. “Seat belts save lives, and everyone, front seat and back, child and adult, should remember to buckle up.”
Since roadway safety is NCDOT’s first priority, the agency is providing safety tips all month long on its weekly webcast NCDOT Now. In addition to information on Operation Crash Reduction, watch online for information on Pedestrian Safety Month, Walk to School Day, National Teen Driver Safety Week, Halloween 2020 Impaired Driving Prevention and more.
NCGHSP asks that you support these efforts by visiting ncghsp.org and following @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram while using the hashtag #BuckleUpNC today.