Each year the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles publishes a report on traffic crashes. The most recent report covers 2018. In this post, we will look at some of the highlights from the 155-page report.

Number of reported crashes increased in 2018

As an overview:

  • The number of crashes (281,685) increased 2.4 percent from 2017
  • Fatalities increased 3.3 percent from 2017
  • Persons injured decreased 2 percent from 2017

Speeding was involved in 21.6 percent of crashes.

Holiday driving

For the last five years, Thanksgiving has been the deadliest holiday on North Carolina roads. Since 2014, there has been an average of 23 fatalities over Thanksgiving. There were 20 fatalities in 2018.

Those out-of-state drivers

Non-North Carolina drivers were involved in 6.9 percent of reported crashes.

Crashes by month

Over the last five years, these have been the most dangerous months for driving:

  • November has had the most crashes, with an average of 24,347 accidents.
  • December has had the second-most crashes

February averaged the fewest accidents.

Contributing factors

The top contributing factors to crashes were (listed from highest to lowest):

  • Failure to reduce speed
  • Inattention
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Improper lane change
  • Operated vehicle in erratic, reckless, careless, negligent or aggressive manner
  • Overcorrected/oversteered
  • Improper turn
  • Crossed centerline/going wrong way
  • Alcohol use
  • Improper backing

Use of seat belts

In 2018, the age range for fatally injured occupants, the age range least likely to have been wearing a seat belt:

  • 20-29, 66 percent wore seat belts
  • 30-39, 66 percent
  • 5-7, 67 percent
  • 15-19, 67 percent

The age category that most often used a seat belt in a crash was 90 and above (91 percent)

Distracted driving by teens

In 2018, there was a decrease in the number of crashes involving teen drivers who were distracted. Here are the number of crashes caused by distracted-driving teens:

  • 2013: 10,937
  • 2014: 10,271
  • 2015: 11,031
  • 2016: 11,260
  • 2017: 11,102
  • 2018: 10,646

Note that distracted driving is self-reported.

Crashes by age

Can you guess which age group of drivers was involved in the most crashes in 2018? It wasn’t teenagers:

  • Teens: 50,988
  • 20-29: 109,749
  • 30-39: 82,235
  • 40-49: 69,846
  • 50-59: 60,724
  • 60-69: 42,275
  • 70-79: 22,213
  • 80-89: 7,055
  • 90 and above: 807

Note that the number decreases with each age group after 20-29.

Crashes by type of vehicle

Unsurprisingly, passenger vehicles led the way in number of crashes involved in:

  • Passenger car: 273,405
  • SUV: 105,992
  • Pickup: 66,315
  • Van: 20,675
  • Tractor/semi-trailer: 5,115
  • Single-unit truck (two axles, six tires): 4,869
  • Motorcycle: 3,566
  • Tractor/trailer: 3,466

There were 1,230 crashes involving police vehicles.

Pedestrian accidents

What are the odds of surviving a crash if you are a pedestrian? Of all pedestrians involved in a crash in 2018, 9.7 percent were killed. A total of 225 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2018 – a 12.5 percent increase from 2017.