Passenger vehicle registrations continually go up each year from state to state as most people rely on driving their own vehicle to get them where they need to go each day. In turn, with increased registrations comes the potential for North Carolina automobile accidents.
During the ten year span from 1999-2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 20% increase in passenger vehicle registrations across the board, with light trucks having the biggest increase of 38% (the bulk of the increase due to the increased popularity of SUV’s during that time frame).
It should seem unlikely that fatality rates would decrease from 1999-2008 based on the number of registered vehicles but reports indicated there was a decline with the biggest decrease shown in passenger car occupant deaths going from 65% down to 58%.
In fact, the fatality rate for all passenger vehicles went from 16.06 in 1999 down to 10.57 in 2008 when taking into account the number of fatalities versus the number of registered passenger vehicles and miles traveled. The injury rate also had a dramatic decline for all passenger vehicles during this time frame going from 1,492 in 1999 down to 864 in 2008.
In 2008, the NHTSA reported that 58% of all fatalities occurring in passenger vehicles in the United States happened in passenger cars as opposed to the 42% that occurred in a light trucks (light trucks being defined as an SUV, pick-up truck, or van.)
North Carolina ranked near the top in fatalities occurring in passenger vehicles. There were a total of 1,033 passenger vehicles that resulted in a fatal crash killing at least one occupant. North Carolina was slightly higher than the national average with 61% of crash fatalities involving a passenger car. The state was slightly under the national average with 39% of fatalities occurring in light trucks in North Carolina.
Restraint use and the direction of impact, as well as the type of vehicle driven can all play a role in the number of fatalities that occur each year according to the NHTSA. The important thing to remember is that you can only control your own actions as a driver by choosing a vehicle you feel safe to drive, wearing your seat belt, and exhibiting the safest driving behavior as possible at all times when you are on the roadways.
If you or a friend are involved in a North Carolina car accident, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith for a free initial consultation at 800-887-1965.