The National Safety Council estimates traffic deaths were up six percent nationwide in 2016, “devastating statistics” and the most in nearly a decade, reported ABC 11. The number of traffic fatalities is rising in North Carolina as well; the state ranks a sobering fifth in the nation for traffic fatalities.
According to the records of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), in 2015, 1,385 people were killed in crashes. That number grew to more than 1,400 in 2016. The population has grown, but, said NCDOT State Traffic Engineer Kevin Lacy, people dying behind the wheel should not be the price for a growing, busy state. “Let’s make it personal,” Lacy said. “How many people dying on our highways is acceptable for your family? None. That’s why when we start talking about the most important safety feature of any vehicle on the roadway, it’s the driver.”
The insurance industry has not failed to take notice of the trend, according to ABC 11. The North Carolina Rate Bureau, which represents all insurance companies doing business in North Carolina, is pushing for a car insurance rate increase of as much as 14 percent. That’s a significant increase, and may be prohibitive for some vehicle owners who can’t afford the increase.
The Bureau cited several justifications for its proposed rate hike:
- Drivers are spending more time on the road.
- Cases of impaired driving and distracted driving have increased.
- In 2015, traffic fatalities increased by 8.1 percent over 2014.
State officials are negotiating with the NCRB, and may call a hearing if no settlement is reached. If a settlement cannot be reached, a hearing will be called. With no rate hike since 2002, North Carolina drivers fear that a rate hike is definitely in the offing. Any approved new rate will take effect on October 1, 2017.
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