The Department of Transportation is stressing safety awareness this month now more than ever, as October has been deemed statistically the deadliest month on North Carolina roadways with the highest number of total road fatalities, especially in southeastern states.
Law enforcement agencies across the state of North Carolina have increased patrols this month, looking for impaired drivers and speeders and checking for seat belt usage as part of this month’s Operation Crash Reduction campaign. The weekend leading up to Columbus Day weekend trails Independence Day for the number of fatal crashes, so it is critical to always buckle up, slow down, avoid distractions and never drive impaired.
Studies also show that more people are also not wearing their seat belts before hitting the road. Generally the seat belt usage rate has been around 92 percent, but for the first time in three years the statewide rate has dropped below 90 percent. Last year it was 88.4 percent, which prompted researchers to conduct another study to better understand why more people are not buckling up.
The study will take place in several counties, primarily in North Carolina’s larger metropolitan areas such as Mecklenburg County, which has experienced a sharp decline of nearly eight percent.
Wearing your seat belt greatly increases your chance of survival if you are involved in a vehicle crash. In North Carolina, out of all the fatalities, about 40 percent do not wear their belt.