North Carolina Auto Accident Facts, Statistics & FAQs

North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles is charged with promoting highway safety to more than 10 million people living in the Tar Heel state.

Part of that task includes collecting state-specific data about crashes, the people who cause them, and what conditions led to the accident.

Below, the injury lawyers from The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo review the latest report, and answer common questions about auto accidents in North Carolina.

North Carolina Crash Data

In 2016, there were 1,441 traffic-related fatalities in North Carolina, an increase of 4.4 percent year-over-year. During the same time 130,137 crash-related injuries were reported, an increase of 5.3 percent.

There were approximately 14 traffic-related fatalities for every 100,000 people in North Carolina.

Sadly, many of these fatalities could have been prevented. Approximately, 42 percent of people killed in these car accidents were not wearing their seatbelt. Thirty-one percent of children age 0 to 4 killed in a crash were unbelted.

Moreover, nearly 30 percent of all fatal crashes involved alcohol, 32 percent involved speeding, and 12 percent involved distracted driving. All of these driving behaviors could have been avoided.

Counties with the most fatalities included Mecklenburg (102), Wake (79), Guilford (59), Forsyth (42), and Robeson (37).  And, the vast majority of car accidents happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

New Years and Memorial Day had the most fatal crashes compared to other 2016 holidays. However, fatality rates were the highest throughout October.

Finally, teens were some of the most vulnerable drivers on our roadways—there’s an entire section in the report dedicated to teen-crash statistics. For example, 87 teens were killed in car wrecks in 2016; almost 58 percent involved speeding and nearly 14 percent involved alcohol.

Twenty to 29 year old drivers were in the most crashes compared to other age groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do most car accidents result in serious injury or death?

 Statistically speaking, no. In 2016, out of 267,494 total crashes in North Carolina, less than .5 percent resulted in fatality and about 30 percent resulted in a non-fatal injury.

Most car accidents are minor collisions that result in minor property damage.

Are traffic accidents getting worse in North Carolina?

Not exactly. Even though crash statistics were up in 2016, fatalities and injuries are not as high as they’ve been in the recent past.

Even though fatalities and injuries remained somewhat constant over many decades, there are more vehicles on the road today than in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

In 2016, for example, there were more than 9 million registered vehicles in North Carolina. The same year, there were 1,441 fatalities and just over 130,000 injuries.

In 1996, there were fewer than 7 million registered vehicles in the state, but there were 1,494 fatalities and more than 150,000 reported injuries.

Is car insurance the best way to protect myself and my family?

North Carolina drivers are required to have car insurance by law.

But our state’s contributory negligence laws can bar a crash victim from obtaining compensation if they’re responsible for the accident in any way.

For example, if you’re injured in an auto accident where the other party is 99 percent responsible and you’re one percent at fault, you’re not entitled to any compensation.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to follow all traffic laws, wear your seat belt, ensure children are properly restrained, don’t drink and drive, and never drive distracted.

Is it always necessary to obtain a lawyer after a car accident?

Not all accidents require the expertise of a car accident lawyer, but there’s no harm in speaking to one before you decide to handle things on your own.

Minor collisions that only involve property damage do not typically require an attorney. However, accidents that result in serious injury or those involving large trucks or multiple vehicles almost always benefit from a lawyer’s expertise.

The DeMayo Law Offices work with injured clients on a contingent-fee basis, which means our clients don’t pay anything until we win their case.

If you have questions about an auto accident, we can help. Call our law firm at 877-529-1222 for a free consultation.

Office Locations

With North Carolina office locations in Charlotte, Hickory, Monroe and in Columbia, South Carolina, DeMayo Law Offices have been serving the state since 1992. You can contact us 24/7 and if you are unable to come to us - we will come to you.


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