Which NC Counties Are The Most Dangerous For Car Crashes?

Aug 8, 2013

A wrecked car in Mecklenburg County, which had the highest total number of fatal crashes in 2012.
Credit W. Robert Howell via creative commons

For the third year in a row, the same four counties have topped AAA Carolinas’ list of North Carolina’s most dangerous counties for car collisions. Pitt, New Hanover, Person and Watauga Counties were ranked the four most dangerous, all averaging over 250 car crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Pitt County has topped the list for five straight years.

“When you see certain counties on the list year after year, certainly there’s a problem,” said AAA Carolinas Director of Communications Angela Daley. “Pitt, New Hanover, Watauga – those are all college towns, and certainly that plays a factor.”

The report used 2012 crash data in each county to determine the number of car collisions per vehicle miles traveled.  While the entire state averages 205 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, Pitt County averaged 307 crashes per 100 million miles. New Hanover averaged 287; Person, 267; and Watauga, 259.

AAA Carolinas ranked the most dangerous and safest counties for vehicles.
Credit AAA Carolinas

AAA Carolinas also analyzed the likelihood of being in a fatal versus an injurious crash in each county and ranked the most dangerous counties for motorcyclists and tractor-trailers. Graham County scored the most dangerous for being in an injurious crash, while Hoke county was the worst for fatal crashes. The most dangerous for motorcyclists was Graham County, and for tractor-trailers Anson County ranked highest.

While the report did not analyze the cause of crashes, national data shows that two thirds of all fatal car crashes occur in rural counties

“In addition to more curves, insufficient road markings and limited police presence, rural roads are prone to more single-vehicle accidents, particularly those involving alcohol,” said AAA Carolinas President and CEO David E. Parsons, in a statement from the company.

AAA Carolinas also analyzed the most dangerous counties for different vehicles.
Credit AAA Carolinas

The safest counties for cars in 2012 were Swain, Haywood, Currituck and Camden.

The total number of traffic fatalities in the state last year was 1,270, up 4% from 2011.