North Carolina drivers likely have noticed several trends in recent years. Because of national challenges that are still being addressed, fewer people were on the road. That might have been viewed somewhat positively as there was a reduction in traffic congestion. However, it simultaneously and inadvertently added to the risks people may face. The emptier roadways gave many drivers the freedom to behave recklessly. To make matters worse, there have been fewer citations issued by local law enforcement. This is believed to be contributing to an uptick in fatal accidents. Drivers, passengers and others who take to the roads should be aware of it.
Road fatalities were dramatically higher in 2021
National and local agencies have expressed concern about the road fatality statistics for 2021. The Department of Transportation says that 2021 had the most fatalities it has seen since it began keeping records. In some areas of North Carolina like New Hanover, where there were 35 road deaths, the increase is a major worry. This happened while law enforcement citations were cut in half. There was a 12% rise in drivers who were arrested for DWI. Speeding has seen a noticeable spike.
In 2021, North Carolina State Troopers issued more speeding tickets than in 2020. Other agencies in the Tar Heel State could not say the same. The number of speeding tickets in Wilmington dropped nearly by half; New Hanover gave out 3% fewer. Much of that is believed to be due to staffing shortages and the tacit decision to let minor infractions slide. Given these statistics and the ongoing concerns about safety, legislators and law enforcement are expected to be more aggressive in confronting drivers who are showing signs of impairment or are acting in a reckless way.
As people are adapting and in some cases taking advantage to the current circumstances, it is causing unexpected obstacles in keeping the roads safe. Even law enforcement is trying to determine how to prevent auto accidents with enforcement and public education. Speed-related collisions tend to have worse outcomes because the impact is greater and people are more susceptible to injuries and fatalities. With that will come medical expenses, lost time on the job, the need for rehabilitation and the possibility of long-term personal and financial problems. To address the litany of concerns that inevitably arise, it is important to know how to move forward. Discussing the situation with experienced people can be helpful in formulating an effective plan.