Road traffic accidents, injuries and deaths for all road users is on the rise both nationally and in my beloved North Carolina (see the summary of 2018-2022 North Carolina crash data directly below). Nationally, there were more than 5 million vehicular crashes resulting in 42,795 traffic deaths in 2022, and North Carolina had the 5th highest accident rate in the country behind Texas, California, Florida and Georgia.
Our North Carolina Department of Transportation recognizes the troubling trend and has again joined forces with outstanding traffic consultant firm VHB (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.) to update its 5-year 2019-2023 State Highway Safety Plan ("highway" = all forms of motorized and non-motorized transportation), and that update started Sep. 11th at the McKimmon's Center on the University of North Carolina State's campus.
In addition to hearing both national and state traffic crash data, the group you see above (I'm representing the BikeWalkNC Hickory region) broke into small group discussions, provided suggestions about both what the new plan should include and how it should be written to connect directly with fellow North Carolinians. Of note, the group decided, and VHB agreed, that working groups should meet fairly frequently to guide plan development as efficiently as possible.
Bottom line: It is more than clear - and with a sense of urgency - that we need to bend the crash curve down.
More as we move forward!