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This page refers to Drunk Driving Statistics in North Carolina.

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The Impact of Drunk Driving on North Carolina By the Numbers

When you buckle up and begin to drive, it’s reasonable to expect others to drive responsibly – though we all know that’s not really the case. There are all kinds of distracted and impaired drivers on the road causing car accidents each day. Possibly the worst people we share the road with are drunk drivers.

Here’s a breakdown of DWI accident statistics. If you know someone who might drive while impaired, show them this. Maybe next time, they’ll catch a ride instead.

National Drunk Driving Statistics for Context

Before we dive into North Carolina’s numbers, let’s establish context. Nationally, in 2018, there were 10,511 deaths from drunk driving crashes in the U.S. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That means that drunk driving caused 29% of all traffic fatalities for the year.

Every day, 29 people die on U.S. roads as the result of an alcohol-related crash. That’s one person every 50 minutes.

North Carolina DWI Statistics

North Carolina roads are dangerous enough without drunk drivers, but there’s seemingly no getting rid of the threat. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Crash Facts report gives us an accurate picture of exactly how dangerous the roads can be – and how much DWI contributes to the danger.

Crashes, Injuries, and Fatalities Due to DWI in North Carolina

Five Year Avg (14-18)
2019
Alcohol-related crashes
11,249
11,492
Alcohol-related injury crashes
7,961
7,665
Alcohol-related fatalities
393
348

For perspective, here are the totals for crashes, injuries, and fatalities over the same span.

Five Year Avg (14-18)
2019
Total crashes
260,487
285,074
Total injury crashes
79,001
80,277
Total fatalities
1,281
1,369

So what are the takeaways?

  • Alcohol-related injuries and fatalities on the road dipped from the five year average, which is good news.
  • Drunk driving accidents accounted for 23.7% of all traffic fatalities, but just 4% of all crashes.
  • Alcohol-related crashes result in a fatality 3% of the time, while crashes from all types combined are fatal 0.4% of the time.
  • In North Carolina, you are more than six times as likely to die if you’re involved in an alcohol-related crash than you are in a crash that does not involve alcohol.
CRASH FACT: Distracted driving was noted as the cause of 53,541 crashes in North Carolina in 2019, and 154 fatalities. DWI caused about a quarter as many crashes (11,492) and still resulted in more than twice the fatalities (348).

North Carolina’s Worst Counties for DWI Crashes, Injuries, and Fatalities*

As you might imagine, the most populous counties are usually the largest offenders when it comes to DWI crashes.

Top 3 North Carolina Counties for Drunk Driving-Related Car Accidents

#1 – Mecklenburg (868 crashes)
#2 – Wake (746 crashes)
#3 – Guilford (446 crashes)

Top 3 North Carolina Counties for Drunk Driving-Related Car Accidents with Injuries

#1 – Mecklenburg (839 injury crashes)
#2 – Wake (727 injury crashes)
#3 – Guilford (423 injury crashes)

Top 3 North Carolina Counties for Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities

#1 – Mecklenburg (29 fatal crashes)
#2 – Guilford (23 fatal crashes)
#3 – Wake (19 fatal crashes)

*Statistics reflect numbers as of 2019.

CRASH FACT: Hyde County was the only county in North Carolina not to record any drunk driving car accidents in 2019. In Tyrell County, 100% of recorded traffic fatalities in the county (2) were alcohol related in 2019 – the only traffic fatalities recorded in the county since at least 2015.

North Carolina’s Deadliest Cities for DWI Crashes, Injuries, and Fatalities*

Most North Carolina residents live in cities. According to the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (NCOSBM), as of July 1, 2019, 57% of North Carolinians (5.9 million people) lived in urban areas. That’s up from 50.4% in 2000.

Obviously, the more people in an area, the more likely there are to be DWIs. But which urban areas are the most dangerous in that respect?

Most Dangerous Cities in North Carolina: Total Alcohol-Related Car Accidents

CITY
Alcohol-Related CRASHES
INJURIES
FATALITIES
Charlotte
883
761
27
Raleigh
562
399
7
Winston-Salem
373
247
6
Greensboro
350
262
10
Durham
263
211
7

Most Dangerous Cities in North Carolina: Percentage of Total Crashes that are Alcohol-Related

While the larger metropolitan areas logically have more crashes, it’s interesting to see that the percentage of crashes related to alcohol is not highest in those areas. Here are the most dangerous cities (population 10,000+) in terms of percentage of total crashes that were alcohol related.

Summerfield       6.07%
Waynesville        5.49%
Carrboro              5.48%
Laurinburg           5.27%
Statesville            4.84%

*Statistics reflect numbers as of 2019.

CRASH FACT: In incorporated “urban” areas with smaller populations (10,000 or less), the % of crashes related to alcohol can be somewhat misleading. For instance, 50% of all crashes in Candor, North Carolina were alcohol-related – there were only two accidents reported in 2019 and one was an intoxicated driver.

Teenage Drunk Driving Stats in North Carolina

The NCDOT tracks data regarding teens in crashes, but does not specify in how many cases teens were intoxicated behind the wheel. Other data suggests that teens are not often driving while impaired:

  • Since 2015, the number of teens involved in alcohol-related crashes regardless of driver age has declined each year, from 1,194 in 2015 to 975 in 2019.
  • Since 2015, the number of teens injured in alcohol-related crashes regardless of driver age has declined, from 1,722 in 2015 to 1,327 in 2019.
  • In a report from 2012, the North Carolina Legislature’s Child Fatality Task Force stated that “less than 1% of all impaired driving charges are to teens under the age of 18.”

While those statistics may provide some comfort, other statistics give us reason to proceed with caution. In 2018, 15% of drivers aged 15-20 involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

CRASH FACT: In 2019, there was an alcohol-related crash fatality in North Carolina every 25.1 hours. There was an alcohol-related injury crash about every 68 minutes.

Holidays and Drunk Drivers in North Carolina By the Numbers

If you’re celebrating the holiday with a couple of drinks, you’re not alone. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that holidays are a hotbed for drunk driving and DWIs in North Carolina, but the statistics are intriguing. Here are the stats for 2019. The percentage of total fatalities refers to the amount of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in relation to the total number of people killed in traffic crashes during the holiday period as defined by the state.

 

HOLIDAY
CRASHES
INJURIES
FATALITIES
% of TOTAL FATALITIES
New Year’s (2 days)
69
46
5
71%
Easter (4 days)
142
98
4
21%
Memorial Day (4 days)
155
109
7
30%
4th of July (2 days)
70
58
0
0%
Labor Day (4 days)
172
133
2
13%
Thanksgiving (5 days)
204
135
5
26%
Christmas (2 days)
53
20
1
17%

 

To give a broader perspective, the total number of holiday fatalities in alcohol-related crashes was 24, with a statewide total for the year of 348 alcohol-related fatalities. Only about 7% of fatalities happened on holidays. Of course, those 24 fatalities happened in just 23 days, so the rate of fatalities was higher.

CRASH FACT: Since 2015, the deadliest holiday in North Carolina was Memorial Day 2016, when 10 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

If You Were Hurt by a Drunk Driver, Call Us

The attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin recognize the danger posed by drunk drivers and the harm they can cause. If you’re injured and the other driver was cited for DWI, you may have a strong case for compensation. Call us any time 24/7 at 866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation, or simply contact us online. Tell them you mean business.

 

Unless otherwise noted, the statistics and data found in the tables on this page were pulled from North Carolina 2019 Traffic Crash Facts issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.