Fatal crashes increase in state despite reduced traffic during pandemic

Fatal crashes increase in state despite fewer drivers on roadway
Fatal crashes increase in state despite fewer drivers on roadway
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 8:26 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - State highway patrol reports a significant increase in fatal crashes, despite fewer drivers out on the roads over the past several months. While the state saw a 16% decrease in drivers on the road during the last six months, the highway patrol reports fatal crashes are up 9.9% compared to this time last year.

Out of those crashes, troopers also say a 10% increase in crashes where speed was a factor and an 18% increase in crashes where they died because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. Sgt. Chris Knox of the Highway Patrol says the increase in fatal accidents is more than just statistics. Each one represents a human life lost when a person decided to speed or drive without a seat belt.

“We’ve seen a pretty significant increase, and it’s disturbing to us. We know that those aren’t just numbers; they’re people,” said Sgt. Chris Knox. “Some, unfortunately, have paid for that decision with their lives.”

Experts believe the higher speeds recorded are related to fewer highway drivers during the pandemic. However, troopers say they haven’t seen an increase in speeding tickets. There’s been a decline in people cited for going above the speed limit, but there’s an increase in the most dramatic cases of speeding.

“We’ve seen that those really high really egregious violations – the people going triple digits-- that category has gone up. We’re seeing more people getting these really high speeds, and we attribute that to them having more room to roam,” said Sgt. Knox.

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