North Carolina Traffic Fatalities Dropped 17% in 2008

April 7, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the North Carolina Transportation Department, the number of people that died in motor vehicle accidents throughout the state in 2008 compared to 2007 decreased by 18%. State transportation officials say there were 1,406 traffic deaths last year, compared to 1,705 the year prior.

Traffic fatalities involving alcohol use also dropped, by 19.8% from 489 deaths in 2008 to 392 fatalities in 2007, while motorcycle deaths declined by 26% from 192 to 142.

N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti says that the decline in traffic deaths shows the state’s commitment to working with local agencies to ensure that North Carolina is a safe place for ground travel. So far, in 2009, North Carolina traffic deaths are down 12% compared to the same time period during 2008.

Earlier this year, South Carolina’s public safety department also reported a sharp drop in traffic deaths for 2008. While 1,077 people died in South Carolina motor vehicle crashes in 2007, 894 traffic fatalities occurred in 2008.

According to the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center, the decrease in motor vehicle deaths in all of the US states last year can be attributed to the fact that there weren’t as many motorists on US roads. Yesterday, the US Department of Transportation reported that the number of motor vehicle deaths that occurred nationally for 2008 was the lowest figure since 1961.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says about 37,313 traffic fatalities occurred throughout the US last year. There were 41,059 motor vehicle deaths the year before. Seat belt use was slightly up in North Carolina, at 89.8% in 2008 compared to 88.8% in 2007. Safety belt use in South Carolina went up to 79% last year from 74.5% the year before.

Any decline in motor vehicle deaths is a positive step forward toward creating greater safety on US roads. However, if you have been involved in a North Carolina or a South Carolina motor vehicle accident that was someone else’s fault, you should consider your legal options regarding personal injury or wrongful death before settling with the negligent party’s insurer.

N.C. traffic deaths down in 2008, News-Record, January 7, 2009

SC traffic deaths plummet in 2008, The Post and Courier, January 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2008(PDF)

Seat Belt Use in 2008-Use Rates in the States and Territories, NHTSA (PDF)

North Carolina Department of Transportation


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