Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is calling attention to rising vehicle fatality rates by addressing the key factors causing the deadly crashes and urging North Carolinians to put driving first while behind the wheel this summer.

Last year was a historically high one for deadly car crashes in N.C., with 1,755 traffic fatalities recorded. Most fatal accidents in 2021 were caused by four major factors:

♦ Speeding;
♦ Texting while driving; and
♦ Driving while under the influence and riding without wearing a seatbelt

“These reckless driving factors may cause drivers and other passengers to be in a fatal accident, and they are all preventable,” Causey said. “Reflecting and recognizing how common and dangerous these patterns are can help spread awareness and create less pressure on automobile insurance rates.”

Commissioner Causey said each of these factors contributing vehicle fatalities, which also put pressure on automobile insurance rates, can be addressed by taking responsible action:

♦ Distracted driving activities such as texting, and other actions inside your vehicle can wait or be prevented by designating a passenger to do them for you. If you feel you really need to send a text, pull off the road and safely park before sending it.

♦ A total of 424 people died in speeding-related crashes in North Carolina in 2021. It is important to respect the speed limit, especially in work zones and congested areas.

♦ Driving while impaired was a factor in 34 percent of car crashes in North Carolina last year. Causey urges motorists to give keys over to a designated driver, or to call a friend, taxi or ride-sharing service in you are unable to drive. Responsible driving will help keep other motorists safe.

♦ A lack of motorist wearing seatbelts can be prevented by habit-making actions. Wearing a seatbelt reduces driver and passengers’ chances of being injured in deadly crashes.

“Halting these reckless driving habits can lessen the pressure on automobile insurance rates and save lives,” the commissioner said.

Driving safely saves lives and money. The North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) was created by state law to give drivers a financial incentive to practice safe driving habits. Other tips and resources can be found on www.ncdoi.gov.

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