Car Crashes in North Carolina Decline, But Collision-Related Deaths Do Not
RALEIGH, NC - North Carolina has seen a drop in car crashes in the state during the COVID-19 lockdown, but that fatalities have remained steady, as reported on CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM Traffic in the state has been about 40 or 50 percent lighter, leading to a decrease in accidents. According to police in Raleigh, police are receiving about half as many calls reporting car crashes as they did during the same time last year.*
While fewer drivers are out, and fewer crashes are taking place, the number of deadly wrecks only went down by less than two percent. The actual number of deaths that occurred this year so far is 443. In comparison with numbers from 2019, only one fewer fatality was reported.
A spokesperson for the Governor's Highway Traffic Safety Program stated that the drop in wrecks makes sense because the state is under quarantine. The fact that deaths have not declined is puzzling to officials.
Prior to the lockdown, traffic deaths dropped by about five percent as compared to last year, indicating that they are actually on the rise now.
One possible reason for the high number of deaths is that while fewer drivers are out, people on the road are taking advantage of the light traffic to travel at high speeds. So while traffic is down, the people who are out on the road feel the freedom to drive recklessly. In Minnesota, deadly collisions rose during the lockdown, and officials believe that the reason is primarily speeding motorists. However, the same is not true in North Carolina, where speed-related crashes are down.
Reports do suggest that fatal crashes involving commercial trucks are increasing this year, indicating one potential source of the high number of deaths in the state.
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