North Carolina Fatal Accident Study:

North Carolina’s Deadliest Roads and Fatal Accident Statistics

MoneyGeek conducted a study that examined fatal crashes in North Carolina between 2018 to 2020. We analyzed 4,017 deadly accidents to identify the deadliest stretches of road in the state and the factors contributing to crashes.

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Last Updated: 6/29/2022
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Between 2018 and 2020, 4,017 motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina resulted in deaths. MoneyGeek analyzed these crashes and 2,395 roads out of the state’s 229,011 miles of road to find the deadliest stretches of road in North Carolina.

Our study also explored the different factors that contributed to fatal crashes in the state. Some of these factors involved driver behaviors, such as drunk driving, speeding and distracted driving. Others were connected to environmental factors, like the weather and time of year. MoneyGeek’s analysis breaks down data for each county in North Carolina and highlights the deadliest roads in each.

Key Findings

  • Cliffdale Rd. from Beverly Dr. to Lansdowne Rd. in Fayetteville is the deadliest stretch of road in North Carolina. Between 2018–2020, 10 fatal accidents occurred here.
  • Speeding and drunk driving were the most common factors involved in deadly crashes. Speeding contributed to 25.4% of accidents, and drunk driving was involved in 23.4%.
  • Distracted driving rates are on the rise. While distracted driving was a factor in just 7.1% of fatal accidents, MoneyGeek’s distracted driving study found that North Carolina had one of the most significant increases in rates of distracted driving of any state from 2019 to 2020.
  • There were 409 fatal accidents in June, the highest of any month. May and September had the next-highest numbers of deadly crashes with 383 and 365, respectively.
  • Mecklenburg had more fatal accidents than any other county. The majority of these occurred on I-485.

10 Deadliest Road Stretches in North Carolina


  • DEADLIEST ROAD IN NORTH CAROLINA
    Cliffdale Rd. from Beverly Dr. to Lansdowne Rd.
    Fayetteville
    Cliffdale Rd. from Beverly Dr. to Lansdowne Rd.
    • Fatal Accidents:10
    • fatalities:11
    • Crashes Per Mile:2.0
    • distance:4.9 Miles
  • I-77 from S. Mint St. to Exit 5
    Charlotte
    I-77 from S. Mint St. to Exit 5
    • Fatal Accidents:7
    • fatalities:8
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.5
    • distance:4.7 Miles
  • I-77 from Exit 25 to Exit 19A
    Huntersville | Charlotte
    I-77 from Exit 25 to Exit 19A
    • Fatal Accidents:7
    • fatalities:7
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.5
    • distance:4.6 Miles
  • I-485 from Exit 26 to Exit 21
    Charlotte
    I-485 from Exit 26 to Exit 21
    • Fatal Accidents:6
    • fatalities:10
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.3
    • distance:4.7 Miles
  • The Plaza from Ilford St. to E. 36th St.
    Charlotte
    The Plaza from Ilford St. to E. 36th St.
    • Fatal Accidents:6
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:2.6
    • distance:2.3 Miles
  • US-421 from Exit 196 to Exit 190
    Guilford County
    US-421 from Exit 196 to Exit 190
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:9
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.0
    • distance:4.9 Miles
  • SR-55 from Pineview Cemetary Rd. to Indian Springs Rd.
    Wayne County
    SR-55 from Pineview Cemetary Rd. to Indian Springs Rd.
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:9
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.3
    • distance:3.7 Miles
  • I-485 from Exit 12 to Exit 9
    Charlotte
    I-485 from Exit 12 to Exit 9
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:7
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.4
    • distance:3.6 Miles
  • I-85 from Exit 33 to Exit 36
    Charlotte
    I-85 from Exit 33 to Exit 36
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:1.7
    • distance:2.9 Miles
  • Eastway Dr. from Hilliard Dr. to Central Ave.
    Charlotte
    Eastway Dr. from Hilliard Dr. to Central Ave.
    • Fatal Accidents:5
    • fatalities:6
    • Crashes Per Mile:3.7
    • distance:1.3 Miles

Drunk Driving Involved in 23% of Fatal Accidents

Out of the 4,017 fatal accidents recorded in North Carolina between 2018 and 2020, 941 involved drunk driving. It was the second-largest contributor to deadly crashes, second only to speeding by a small margin.

North Carolina considers driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher illegal. However, alcohol affects your driving before your BAC exceeds legal levels. Having approximately two alcoholic drinks puts your BAC at 0.02% and noticeably impairs your driving abilities. You start feeling more relaxed, which can result in some loss of judgment. You’ll also have difficulty with some tasks necessary in driving, like visually tracking moving objects and multitasking.

The costs of drunk driving cause stress in different areas, even if it doesn’t lead to fatalities. It categorizes you as a high-risk driver, making finding cheap car insurance in North Carolina difficult. You may also experience restricted driving privileges, license suspension and even jail time.

Speeding Is a Factor in 25% of Fatal Crashes

In North Carolina, between 2018 and 2020, speeding was a factor in 1,019 fatal accidents. That’s 25.4% of all deadly crashes recorded in the state.

Going above the speed limit has several consequences. It lengthens your stopping distance, increasing the chances of a collision if the car before you suddenly brakes. The momentum affects impact, causing more severe injuries or even death. Safety equipment in your vehicle and protective structures like guardrails and concrete barriers lose their effectiveness in these situations.

Distracted Driving Contributed to 7% of Fatal Accidents

Distracted driving contributed to 286 deadly accidents in North Carolina from 2018 to 2020. That’s 7.1% of the total fatal crashes recorded in the state. While this rate is somewhat low compared to speeding and drunk driving, distracted driving is still a problem in North Carolina. According to MoneyGeek’s distracted driving study, North Carolina had one of the most significant increases in rates of distracted driving from 2019 to 2020 of any state.

North Carolina has banned the use of cellphones for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers in the state, regardless of age. The state also uses primary enforcement, meaning police officers can pull you over and issue a citation for this violation alone.

June Had More Fatal Accidents Than Any Other Month

MoneyGeek’s study also explored whether fatal crashes in North Carolina tended to occur in specific months. Results showed that June had the most deadly accidents of any month, with 409 occurrences — that’s 10.18% of all recorded fatal crashes. May and September had the next-highest count at 383 and 365, respectively. All three months fall within what is commonly known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when traffic fatalities increase significantly in the U.S., on average.

Average Fatal Accidents by Month
Month
Fatal Accidents
Drunk Driving Related
Distracted Driving Related
Winter Conditions
Speeding Related
% of Total

January

316

75

14

5

72

7.9%

February

277

64

26

3

76

6.9%

March

313

79

32

3

85

7.8%

April

325

80

21

0

68

8.1%

May

383

86

34

0

104

9.5%

June

409

94

25

0

121

10.2%

July

363

92

30

0

99

9.0%

August

351

86

22

0

93

8.7%

September

365

89

23

0

77

9.1%

October

345

65

24

0

66

8.6%

November

359

81

23

0

103

8.9%

December

211

50

12

1

55

5.3%

Driving Safely Protects You, Others and Your Wallet

Practicing safe driving has social and personal benefits. While you help keep North Carolina’s roads secure by driving safely, you also avoid accidents. However, situations can still arise when collisions happen; if they do, having insurance coverage is crucial. An affordable full coverage car insurance policy can protect you and your loved ones after a crash.

The average cost of car insurance in North Carolina is $841 per year. Remember that this is the state average, and rates may vary depending on your location. Car insurance in Fayetteville costs $940 per year on average for a full coverage car insurance policy. In contrast, auto insurance in Winston-Salem is $718 for a similar plan — that's a $222 difference. Car insurance in Charlotte, North Carolina’s most populous city, averages $939 annually.

Besides location, insurers also consider other factors when determining car insurance premiums. These may include your age, driving history and your car’s make and model. Rates also vary between providers. Comparing quotes between multiple insurers can help you find the cheapest car insurance company for your profile.

Fatal Accidents and Most Dangerous Roads: County Breakdown

The top five counties with the most deadly crashes made up 23% of all recorded incidents in North Carolina in the three years studied. Mecklenburg had the highest count at 289, most of which occurred along I-485. MoneyGeek’s analysis found that these crashes typically involved speeding and drunk driving.

Fatal Accidents and Contributing Factors By County
County
Fatal Accidents
Drunk Driving Related
Distracted Driving Related
Speeding Related
Most Deadly Road (Fatal Accidents)

Mecklenburg

289

90

27

116

I-485 (24)

Wake

188

42

13

54

I-40 (13)

Guilford

170

50

14

54

I-40 (8)

Cumberland

143

32

10

37

Ssr-1400 Cliffdale Rd (10)

Robeson

126

38

6

30

I-95 (8)

Forsyth

105

25

6

33

I-40 (5)

Durham

93

24

6

27

US-70 (4)

Buncombe

91

26

7

18

I-240 (4)

Johnston

90

22

8

24

US-70 (10)

Harnett

83

14

15

27

US-421 (8)

Davidson

81

13

5

13

I-85 (12)

Nash

77

26

7

26

US-64 (9)

Gaston

73

15

5

27

I-85 (7)

Randolph

70

12

8

17

SR-49 (5)

Pitt

67

15

5

26

SR-33 (7)

Iredell

66

15

3

9

I-40 (9)

Cleveland

65

10

5

11

US-74 (5)

Brunswick

64

19

0

13

US-17 (10)

Cabarrus

62

13

3

10

SR-49 (4)

Rowan

62

11

2

18

Ssr-1002 Old Concord Rd (3)

Union

60

13

1

12

US-74 (8)

Wayne

60

9

5

10

SR-55 (8)

New Hanover

57

13

4

17

US-421 Carolina Beach Rd (4)

Alamance

57

18

2

16

I-40 (7)

Pender

56

16

4

12

US-117 (6)

Catawba

55

11

3

12

SR-10 (6)

Onslow

54

14

3

14

US-17 Wilmington Hwy (5)

Duplin

52

12

5

16

US-117 (5)

Rockingham

47

7

1

11

US-29 (4)

Columbus

46

8

5

7

US-74 (7)

Burke

45

8

4

8

I-40 (10)

Moore

44

11

2

8

US-1 (10)

Granville

44

18

3

9

I-85 (8)

Halifax

43

17

3

7

SR-48 (7)

Sampson

41

6

6

5

US-13 (3)

Surry

40

12

2

10

SR-268 (4)

Rutherford

40

7

2

11

US-64 (4)

Lenoir

39

8

3

10

SR-11 (10)

Franklin

35

12

0

10

SR-39 (5)

Wilson

35

6

0

6

SR-42 (3)

Orange

34

10

1

13

I-40 (4)

Chatham

34

7

4

8

US-64 (3)

Lee

32

10

5

6

US-1 (3)

Wilkes

31

4

4

9

SR-18 (4)

Caldwell

31

2

2

3

US-321 Blowing Rock Blvd (4)

Bladen

30

6

2

8

US-701 (6)

Haywood

30

2

2

5

US-19 (5)

Henderson

30

12

2

3

US-64 (5)

Hoke

30

4

1

7

US-401 (5)

Carteret

30

7

1

5

SR-24 (8)

Edgecombe

30

8

1

11

SR-111 (3)

Lincoln

29

7

2

9

SR-27 (4)

Craven

29

6

1

6

SR-55 (3)

Montgomery

25

1

3

8

I-73 (2)

Scotland

25

5

1

6

SR-144 (3)

Yadkin

25

1

2

5

I-77 (6)

Northampton

24

7

0

7

US-158 (6)

Jackson

24

3

1

6

US-23 (5)

Vance

21

6

0

1

I-85 (5)

Richmond

20

3

2

4

US-1 (5)

Bertie

18

0

0

3

SR-308 (4)

Pasquotank

18

4

1

3

US-17 (3)

Mcdowell

17

6

0

3

US-221 (4)

Caswell

17

4

1

3

SR-86 (3)

Cherokee

17

5

0

3

US-19-64 (2)

Stanly

17

3

0

4

US-52 (2)

Davie

17

7

1

2

I-40 (6)

Warren

16

4

0

2

SR-58 (3)

Hertford

16

3

1

5

SR-561 (2)

Beaufort

16

4

2

2

US-264 (5)

Martin

16

5

3

6

US-64 (3)

Macon

15

3

1

5

US-64 (2)

Alexander

15

3

0

0

SR-16 (5)

Madison

15

5

3

5

US-25 (3)

Anson

15

6

2

3

US-52 (3)

Person

14

4

1

5

US-501 Durham Rd (2)

Watauga

14

3

1

0

US-421 (3)

Stokes

12

2

1

2

US-52 (2)

Greene

11

3

1

3

US-13 (4)

Polk

10

1

1

4

I-26 (2)

Ashe

10

0

1

0

US-221 (3)

Dare

10

1

1

1

US-158 (2)

Graham

10

0

1

2

SR-143 (3)

Chowan

9

1

1

1

US-17 (3)

Currituck

9

1

3

4

US-158 Caratoke Hwy (3)

Transylvania

8

1

0

1

US-64 (3)

Jones

8

2

0

2

SR-58 (2)

Avery

8

1

3

2

US-221 (2)

Gates

8

2

0

2

US-158 (2)

Perquimans

8

1

0

0

Ssr-1336 Harvey Point Rd (2)

Yancey

8

2

2

0

SR-197 (3)

Swain

6

0

1

1

US-19 (2)

Pamlico

6

1

0

2

SR-304 (3)

Clay

5

0

1

0

US-64 (2)

Alleghany

5

2

1

2

SR-113 (1)

Mitchell

5

1

1

2

SR-226 (2)

Washington

3

1

0

1

SR-45 (1)

Camden

3

0

0

2

US-17 Ocean Hwy (1)

Hyde

2

0

0

0

Ssr-1302 Higginsport Rd (1)

Tyrrell

1

0

0

0

US-64 Alligator River Bridge (1)

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) database using fatality data from 2018, 2019 and 2020. Currently, 2020 is the latest data available in the system.

About the Author


expert-profile

Doug Milnes is the head of marketing and communications at MoneyGeek. He has spent more than a decade in corporate finance performing valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies including OpenTable. He holds a master’s degree in Predictive Analytics (Data Science) from Northwestern University and is a CFA charter holder. Doug geeks out on building financial and predictive models and using data to make informed decisions.


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