For North Carolina officials, it’s not enough to simply lower traffic deaths. The state has taken that important goal a step further and officially implemented a traffic safety program that intends to eliminate on-road deaths completely.The program, named NC Vision Zero, was launched in October and intends to bring together law enforcement personnel, emergency responders, engineers, and drivers to work toward a future that’s free of auto accident deaths.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), there were 1,387 traffic deaths in 2015. The department’s goal with NC Vision Zero is to reduce that figure by 50 percent within 15 years, with the eventual goal of eliminating these deaths completely.
North Carolina Traffic Deaths: The Statistics
In 2014, vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death in the United States for 5- to 24-year-olds. Statistics like these have led North Carolina and other states to adopt stricter traffic safety measures in recent years.
While elimination of all traffic deaths may seem futuristic, the officials behind NC Vision Zero say this goal is obtainable.
“For us, it’s more of a vision,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, in a statement regarding NC Vision Zero. “We know that we’re not going to achieve [zero deaths] overnight.” The first step toward that ideal, according to Nail and other safety officials, is taking initiative and setting goals for improvement.
Currently, North Carolina is a long way from the lofty goal of zero traffic deaths, and it hasn’t been trending in the right direction in recent years, either. In 2015, for example, statewide traffic deaths rose by 7.4 percent to 1,379. The state also saw a 13.2 percent increase in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2015.
State officials say that drivers can help reverse these alarming trends and reduce their risk of a crash if they simply obey the laws of the road and pay more attention. NCDOT’s main goal with the launch of NC Vision Zero is to eliminate simple, preventable accident catalysts like alcohol and distraction by educating communities statewide about these issues.
Eliminating Traffic Deaths: The Path Forward
The NC Vision Zero program’s website, located at ncvisionzero.org, launched in late 2016 to track the most recent traffic statistics and provide continuous updates on the number of crashes, fatalities, accident causes, and more. Site visitors can sort these data by factors like geographic area and fatal crash causes.
“We’re trying to put tools in folks’ hands – law enforcement, hospitals and EMS – they can go in and look at their own data,” Nail said. “The data’s going to be very specific.”
The site also provides performance metrics on crash reduction that are updated daily. By providing this information, NCDOT hopes to redefine the way drivers navigate the road by shifting their focus from distraction to dependability.
Drivers who want to help support NC Vision Zero can start by taking the organization’s online pledge to obey speed limits, wear a seat belt, never drink and drive, and to avoid distraction while driving.
Contact Myers Law Firm If You’ve Been Hurt
We urge all readers of our blog to join the NC Vision Zero initiative by following their website and taking the safe driving pledge. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automotive accident, Myers Law Firm is here to fight for your rights. We are committed to fair and aggressive representation that places our clients’ best interest above all other concerns. Please complete our online form, or call 888-376-2889 to discuss your legal options in a free, no-risk consultation.
Campbell, C. (2016, August 30). Eliminate all traffic deaths? NC leaders say it could eventually happen. The News & Observer. Retrieved from http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article105753976.html
Explore crash data & maps in North Carolina with the interactive safety dashboard. (n.d.). NC Vision Zero. Retrieved from http://ncvisionzero.org
Report: Increase in 2015 North Carolina traffic fatalities. (2016, August 30). The Associated Press. Retrieved from http://wnct.com/2016/08/30/report-increase-in-2015-north-carolina-traffic-fatalities/
Working to eliminate NC traffic deaths [editorial]. (2016, October 4). The News & Observer. Retrieved from http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article105991242.html