Local News

UNC Researcher: Rural Highways, Construction Factors In Many N.C. Deadly Wrecks

Posted September 4, 2003

— Since Friday, 19 people were killed in wrecks on North Carolina roads. North Carolina is one of the worst states in the country for deadly wrecks.

When it comes to the total number of people who died in car crashes in 2002, North Carolina ranks behind California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania -- states that are more heavily populated, according to the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

North Carolina even outnumbers states similar in population size and states on the busy Interstate 95 corridor.

Eric Rodgman, of the

University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

, has spent the last 29 years researching highway safety and fatal accidents. He looks at the causes and tries to figure out why more people are killed in car wrecks here than most other states.

Rodgman said North Carolina has a lot of rural highways, which is one factor. The state also has a high number of major highways and ongoing construction projects.

For Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol, those issues are on top of other factors like aggressive driving that every state's Highway Patrol deals with.

The state is stuck trying to figure out what to do about it, so it took the people who run the numbers, enforce the speed limit and build the roads and brought them together to form the Executive Committee for Highway Safety.

"These are the people who can make the decision about where the money will be spent," Rodgman said.


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