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The Big Picture

Each year, North Carolina has approximately 6,000 CMV-involved crashes. Most of these are low severity crashes, and occur mostly in urban areas.

NC crash map graphic

CMV-involved crashes account for only about 2% of all crashes statewide, but constitute 10% of all traffic fatalities in North Carolina. This over-representation suggests that fatal risk is higher for CMV-involved crashes than other vehicle types (e.g. passenger vehicles).

NC fatal crash map graphic

~120-130 CMV-involved fatalities per year

Which Road Classes Have High CMV Fatalities?

CMV fatal crashes in North Carolina occur primarily on three road classes: US, NC and Interstate highways. These
three road classes comprise 74% of all CMV crashes from FFY 2010-2013.

Percent of Fatal cmv-involved crashes by road class graphic


How Does North Carolina Compare to the Nation?

North Carolina has the second largest state-maintained road network in the nation, including nearly 90,000 miles of
highways and more than 12,000 bridges. While North Carolina has put forth considerable effort to reducing CMV
collisions, the state consistently ranks as one of FMCSA’s “top ten” CMV crash states. A number of factors
contribute to this fact. North Carolina’s high traffic volumes, major interstate and non-interstate “pass-thru”
corridors, large and widely variable geography, steadily increasing urban population hubs and expanding east coast
commerce centers all play pivotal roles in this statistic.

Top ten graphic

However, counts of fatal crashes alone don’t tell us how “safe” North Carolina’s roads are for CMV travel. For
example, if one accounts for traffic volume, expressed as fatal crashes per hundred million vehicle miles traveled
(HMVMT), North Carolina actually ranks 25th (middle-of-the-pack).

Crashes per HMVMT graphic

And, when a CMV crash does occur in North Carolina, it is less likely to result in a fatality, compared to all other
states – North Carolina ranks 40th out of 50.

CMV-involved fatalities per crash graphic

What “Causes” CMV Crashes?

Conflict opportunities…

  • Undivided traffic-ways
  • Un-signalized intersections
  • Driveways and other entrances
  • Left turns across traffic
  • Vehicle speed differentials

Passenger Vehicle Conflicts

  • Most truck crashes involve at least one other vehicle
  • 66% of the time, the other vehicle is a car
  • 56% of the time car driver behaviors are citied as the ‘critical reason’
  • If the crash is fatal, car driver behaviors are cited 75% of the time as the ‘critical reason’ for the crash


Risky Driver Behaviors

  • Speeding
  • Distraction / Inattention
  • Improper Lane Change
  • Failure to Yield
  • Erratic Driving

Top Driver Crash Predictors

  1. Signaling violation
  2. Previous Crash
  3. Improper Passing Violation


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COVERLAB is a program hosted at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), and supported by the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement section of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Centennial Campus
909 Capability Drive, Suite 3600
Research Building IV
Raleigh, North Carolina 27606-3870 U.S.A.

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