News Releases

5/23/2016: NC Launches Click It or Ticket Campaign to Encourage Vehicle Passenger Safety and Save Lives

NC Launches Click It or Ticket Campaign to Encourage Vehicle Passenger Safety and Save Lives

Posted 5/23/2016 4:27:28 PM

Raleigh – North Carolina today kicked off the 23rd year of the state’s Click It or Ticket education and enforcement program to remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The campaign aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years. In fact, between 2010 – 2014, an average of 545 lives were saved per year due to the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles. “We are always working to improve the safety of North Carolina motorists and wearing your seat belt is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “The Click It or Ticket campaign reminds both drivers and passengers that seat belts save lives.” Governor Pat McCrory has stressed the importance of using seat belts, and cited his recent accident in California after the Super Bowl as a good example. He was a passenger in the back seat of a California Highway Patrol car that was rear-ended. The governor credited wearing his seat belt as the reason he was not seriously injured. Secretary Tennyson joined Highway Patrol Commander Colonel Bill Grey, Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Don Nail and nearly two hundred law enforcement officers to kickoff the campaign. Robert Hassell, president of N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, and trauma surgeon Dr. Miren Schinco also spoke to the audience about the importance of seat belt safety. "As the summer travel season begins, we want to remind passengers that it is the law to wear your seat belt in every seat,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “If you fail to buckle up, at the very least you could receive fines of up to $179 but ultimately you could lose your life if you are involved in a crash.” During the annual national Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which begins today, Monday, May 23, and continues through Monday, June 5, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement officers day and night across the state to keep those who drive our highways safe. This enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. "As Memorial Day approaches, traffic will increase throughout North Carolina. We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend," said Colonel Grey. "Please fasten your seat belts, obey the speed limit and don’t drink and drive. The choices you make can be difference between life and death.” In 2015, 415 people were killed and an additional 436 others were seriously injured who were not using seat belts in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina. During that same year, 41.8 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities were unrestrained. North Carolina law requires all passengers in a vehicle to be properly restrained. Nevertheless, many backseat passengers believe they do not need to use a seat belt. In fact, a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report confirmed that 22 percent of backseat passengers do not buckle up. The most recent available data revealed that in 2014, 48 percent of backseat passengers in North Carolina that were killed were unrestrained. The DOT estimates that people not wearing a seat belt in either the front or back seat of a vehicle are 30 times more likely to be ejected during a crash. Another sobering statistic estimates that in fatal crashes, more than three out of four people who are ejected die from their injuries.  To complement the enforcement efforts, the N.C. Department of Transportation and GHSP produced several public service announcements to stress the importance of wearing a seat belt in Every seat, Every time. The advertisements are running on both traditional and non-traditional media through the end of May. Governor Pat McCrory has also proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this Memorial Day holiday, we recommend the following safety tips to drivers and passengers as they travel: Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time; Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you have a sober designated driver; Obey the posted speed limit; Keep a safe following distance; Turn on your headlights in the rain; and Put away all distractions including cell phones - it can wait. For more information regarding Click It or Ticket activities, contact Jonathan Bandy at (919) 814-3657 or visit the GHSP website. ***NCDOT***
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5/5/2016: Governor McCrory Proclaims May As Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month

Governor McCrory Proclaims May As Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month

Posted 5/5/2016 2:29:47 PM

Raleigh – Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month to remind vehicle occupants to buckle up in every seat, every time. Regardless of vehicle type, time of day, or seating position, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. In 2015, 42 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities in North Carolina were drivers or passengers not wearing seat belts.  The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s (GHSP) 2015 Annual Statewide Seat Belt Survey reported that 89.9 percent of front seat drivers and passengers wear their seat belt. Unfortunately, unrestrained serious injuries increased in North Carolina from 395 in 2014 to 436 in 2015. Unrestrained fatalities also increased from 374 in 2014 to 415 in 2015. “Unrestrained fatalities could be prevented by taking three seconds when you get into a vehicle – by the simple act of wearing a seat belt,” said Don Nail, director of the GHSP. “Our message is simple, buckle up in every seat, every time.” North Carolina law requires occupants in the front and rear seats of a passenger vehicle to be properly restrained by using a seat belt. Many passengers feel that they are safer in the rear seat and do not need to wear a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 58 percent of rear seat passenger fatalities were unrestrained in 2014 compared to the 47 percent in the front seat.  The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the GHSP in partnership with state and local law enforcement will conduct their annual “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign in conjunction with the national mobilization around the Memorial Day holiday.  “Time after time, we see the deadly results that come from drivers and passengers refusing to wear a seat belt,” said Don Nail. “Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important steps in increasing survivability in a crash. Law enforcement will stop those who are not buckled up – strict enforcement now means lives saved later.”  To help share the “Click It or Ticket” message, the GHSP, in conjunction with the NCDOT, will launch a creative marketing campaign to remind travelers to “Click It or Ticket. Every Seat. Every Time. It’s The Law.”   ***NCDOT***
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5/3/2016: Governor McCrory Proclaims May As Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Governor McCrory Proclaims May As Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Posted 5/3/2016 2:29:00 PM

Raleigh – Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to encourage drivers to share the road with those riding motorcycles and to remind motorcyclists to practice safe riding. The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will promote awareness of motorcyclists during May to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries on North Carolina roadways. Motorcycle related injuries decreased in North Carolina with 3,618 in 2014 and 3,359 in 2015.  Crashes involving motorcyclists also decreased from 3,783 in 2014 to 3,641 in 2015. However, motorcycle fatalities have increased 14.2 percent from 2014 (148) to 2015 (169). As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, more people are on the roads, including more than 469,000 drivers licensed in North Carolina with a motorcycle endorsement.  “We want motorists to understand motorcycle safety challenges such as size and visibility, and riding practices like downshifting and weaving to be able to anticipate and respond to motorcyclist behavior,” said Don Nail, director of the GHSP. Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe—always share the road.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1,630 lives were saved in 2014 because of proper helmet usage, but another 715 lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury than a helmeted rider. North Carolina’s law requires all motorcyclists to wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 helmet.  The GHSP BikeSafe North Carolina program invites motorcyclists to participate in a free “Rider Skills Day” class that offer an assessment of current driving skills and advice to help make their experience as a motorcyclist safer and more enjoyable. For more information, including a full schedule of classes, visit the BikeSafe North Carolina website. The NCDOT and GHSP offers the following important safety tips to motorcyclists and other drivers: Motorcyclists: Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn Wear brightly colored clothes, gear, and reflective tape to increase visibility Obey the posted speed limit Never ride distracted or impaired Other drivers: Share the road. Motorcyclists have the right to a full lane Stay alert. Be aware that motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car's blind spot; take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic when changing lanes, especially at intersections Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic Keep a safe distance. Allow more following distance – three to four seconds – behind motorcycles Be cautious. Be aware that not all turn signals on a motorcycle are self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change Obey the posted speed limit Never drive distracted or impaired View the proclamation here. ***NCDOT***
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3/24/2016: N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program Launches New Enforcement Blitz Against Speeding

N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program Launches New Enforcement Blitz Against Speeding

Posted 3/24/2016 11:07:28 AM

Raleigh, NC – The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is launching its annual speed enforcement blitz from March 24 – April 3 under the tagline: “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine.” The intensified enforcement effort against speeding drivers underscores the severity of the problem across our state’s roads. Officers will step up enforcement of posted speed limits throughout North Carolina and stop and ticket anyone caught speeding. “Speeding translates to death on our roadways. It greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object, or an unexpected curve,” said Don Nail, director of the GHSP. “We want to help our state and local law enforcement get out their message Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine to reduce fatalities.” In 2015, speeding was a contributing factor in 23 percent of all fatal crashes in North Carolina and 322 lives were lost in such crashes. During last year’s Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine campaign there were 23 fatalities, including five speed-related deaths. "North Carolina law enforcement remains committed to keeping our highway and roads safe,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “The N.C. State Highway Patrol does not intend to change its tactics when it comes to enforcing the speed limit. Our troopers still have reasonable discretion when it comes to enforcing our traffic laws. Earlier reports that we would begin ticketing drivers going one or two miles over the speed limit were based on a misinterpretation of the initiative. Troopers and local law enforcement officers will continue to enforce the speed limit." Fully 86 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occur on local roads – where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or under. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below. About 14 percent of the country’s speeding-related fatalities occur on interstate highways each year. ***NCDOT***
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12/7/2015: Annual Tree of Life Ceremony Honors 1,277 Lives Lost on NC Highways in 2014

Annual Tree of Life Ceremony Honors 1,277 Lives Lost on NC Highways in 2014

Posted 12/7/2015 12:54:09 PM

RALEIGH – The annual “Tree of Life” illuminated Friday evening on the grounds of the State Capitol in memory of the 1,277 lives lost on North Carolina highways last year. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and law enforcement agencies from across the state joined families and friends of the victims to honor the lives lost and bring awareness to the dangers of drunken driving. “The annual Tree of Life ceremony is our time to honor the victims that lost their lives on North Carolina roads and to use the ceremony as an opportunity to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “Our vision is zero fatalities in North Carolina, and we want to remind everyone who is about to travel for the holidays to stay safe, buckle up and don’t drive impaired.”   The “Tree of Life” was lit with 371 red lights memorializing the victims of alcohol-related crashes, 905 white lights commemorating the lives lost in all other vehicle crashes and one blue light recognizing the law enforcement officer who lost his life in a traffic crash in 2014. Following the tree lighting, MADD held a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died as the result of an impaired driver. “I am happy to see that we have added a new color light to the tree this year to honor the law enforcement officer that we unfortunately lost due to a traffic crash,” said Nail. “Law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to make sure people are safe on our roads, and this one blue light is to remind people to help protect those who protect us.”  North Carolina MADD director, LaRonda Scott, joined Nail and Nic. So far in 2015, North Carolina has seen 1,219 fatalities on its roadways, which is a slight increase from the 1,186 deaths that occurred during the same time period in 2014. Alcohol-related deaths have decreased a bit, with 336 year-to-date fatalities compared to 357 at the same time last year. The “Tree of Life” will remain on display at the State Capitol through Jan. 6, 2016. ***NCDOT***
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