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Animal-Related Vehicle Crashes Decline Across N.C.

The decrease last year was 8.5%, NCDOT data show


 RALEIGH – The frequency of vehicle crashes involving animals decreased last year across North Carolina, according to figures kept by the N.C. Department of Transportation. The number of such crashes – usually involving deer and often occurring in the twilight hours during the fall – totaled 18,607 last year. That’s an 8.5% decrease from 2019. 

Officials with NCDOT’s Traffic Safety Unit, which compiles an “Animal Related Crashes” report each year, attributed the decline partially to an overall drop in highway travel last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease also indicates that ongoing safety messages for reducing one’s risks of being involved in a deer collision are having an impact, said Matthew Cowhig, the NCDOT engineer who compiles the report.

“Almost half of these animal-related crashes are occurring between October and December and at night, which is when people should be especially vigilant,” Cowhig said. About 7% of all vehicle crashes in the state involve animal strikes.

Wake County had the highest number of animal crashes for a three-year period from 2018-2020, according to the NCDOT report. The county had 2,570 animal-related crashes. Wake County usually leads the state in the animal report due to its large geographic size and its fast residential growth. Housing subdivisions in the county are sprouting up across once-rural areas where deer used to be able to roam without encountering much highway traffic.

County rankings The Top 10 counties had a combined 15,737 animal crashes over the last three years. Those crashes caused a nearly combined $44 million in damage, 719 injuries and three deaths.

The Top 10 counties in animal crashes for three years combined are as follows:
Wake County – 2,570
Pitt County – 1,712
Guilford County – 1,707
Union County – 1,493
Randolph County –1,467
Duplin County – 1,397
Columbus County – 1,379
Mecklenburg County – 1,361
Brunswick County – 1,344
Robeson County – 1,307

Safety Advice Here are some tips regarding animal (usually deer) crashes:

– Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash. 

– Slow down in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.

– Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches.

– Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for deer eyes reflecting in the headlights

– Deer often travel in small herds so if you see one deer near a road be alert for others

– If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast

– Do not swerve to avoid a collision. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a more serious crash.

– If your vehicle does strike a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road, if possible, and call 911

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660 

NCDOT Sets New Yearly Litter Collection Record of 11 Million Pounds 

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 11 million pounds of litter from roadsides, exceeding the state’s record for litter collection set in 2019.

“This is the kind of record we never wanted to break,” said Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “I am very proud of the hard working employees, contractors and volunteers who’ve helped us collect this trash, but litter shouldn’t be there in the first place. Keeping North Carolina beautiful starts with everyone doing their part.” 

Since Jan. 1, NCDOT has collected more than 11 million pounds of litter, totaling more than $15.8 million on litter collection efforts.   In 2019, NCDOT forces and volunteers set the previous record by collecting 10.5 million pounds of litter statewide.  NCDOT’s litter management programs are multifaceted.

The department makes use of state-owned forces and contract services statewide. NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT is also proud to partner with the more than 120,000 participants in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year. 

If you spot someone littering from their vehicle, report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app by downloading the app at ncdot.gov/litter.  

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life.  

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660 

NCDOT Sending $143 Million in Powell Bill Funds to Help Municipalities Improve Transportation


 RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is distributing more than $143.1 million in State Street Aid to Municipalities, also known as Powell Bill funds, to 509 municipalities statewide. The initial allocation, or half the total, was distributed this week. The other half will be paid by Jan. 1.  

“Powell Bill funding makes many critical transportation improvements possible for communities from the mountains to the coast,” said State Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “Municipalities can use these funds on a variety of projects that make North Carolina an even better place to live and work.”        

The Powell Bill funds are used primarily to resurface municipal streets but can also be used to maintain, repair, construct or widen streets, bridges and drainage areas. Municipalities can also use Powell Bill funds to plan, construct and maintain bike paths, greenways or sidewalks.    

The amount each municipality receives is based on a formula set by the N.C. General Assembly, with 75 percent of the funds based on population, and 25 percent based on the number of locally-maintained street miles.   

The fund is named for Junius K. Powell, a former state senator and mayor of Whiteville. Powell was the primary sponsor of the 1951 bill that helped the state’s cities with urban road problems. The first allocation of Powell Bill funds was for $4.5 million and was distributed to 386 cities and towns.  

A complete list of the municipalities receiving Powell Bill funds, the amounts they are receiving and more information about the program is on the NCDOT website.

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660 

More Than 10 Million Pounds of Litter Collected

State nears annual record for collection



A crew removes litter from U.S. 23/74 in Haywood County.

SYLVA – The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 10 million pounds of litter from roadsides, nearly breaking the state’s record for litter collection set in 2019. This announcement comes on the heels of the two-week Fall Litter Sweep, which saw more than 418,000 pounds of roadside litter picked up statewide. 

“We certainly wish we didn’t have any litter anywhere in our division or across the state,” Division 14 Engineer Wanda Austin said. “We’re thankful for those who prevent and pickup litter to help keep our mountain roadsides clean and beautiful.”

More than 403,000 pounds of littler has been collected since Jan. 1 in Division 14, which covers the 10 westernmost counties in North Carolina. Much of Division 14’s success is owed, in part, to the 303 Adopt-A-Highway groups or the 13 miles of roadside sponsored by private companies in the division.

The department is always looking for more volunteer groups. Interested participants should visit ncdot.gov/DontTrashNC to see how they can get involved. NCDOT officials estimate that the agency and its partners will break the 2019 record of 10.5 million pounds collected within a month. If you spot someone littering from a vehicle, report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app by downloading the app at ncdot.gov/litter

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life. Everyone can do their part to prevent roadside litter by following these tips:
•    Always secure your load
•    Clear truck beds of any and all trash and debris before driving
•    Never toss garbage from a vehicle

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.
***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660 

Section of I-26 East Closing Tonight, Thursday Night

Traffic detoured to route with longer green lights


RALEIGH – A section of Interstate 26 East will be closed Wednesday and Thursday nights. Motorists will be detoured onto Hendersonville Road (U.S. 25) where traffic signals will be modified to handle the increased traffic. 

I-26 East will be closed from Long Shoals Road (Exit 37) to U.S. 25 Business (Exit 44) starting no earlier than 8 p.m. each night. Contractors for the N.C. Department of Transportation will be conducting multiple operations in both Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  

Traffic will be diverted, via the Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) system, to Long Shoals Road (N.C. 146) and Hendersonville Road (U.S. 25) then back to I-26. The interstate will reopen no later than 6 a.m. The ICM system will provide longer green times at traffic signals to accommodate the additional interstate traffic.

On Wednesday night, in Buncombe County, crews will shift the eastbound traffic pattern between Glen Bridge Road and Airport Road. Crews in Henderson County will be paving in preparation for a traffic shift that will occur Thursday night. The eastbound traffic in Henderson County will shift toward the median between Airport Road and the I-26 East rest area. 

These plans are weather-dependent and subject to change. Transportation officials advise drivers to obey all posted traffic signs and remain alert in work zones.

Transportation officials remind drivers to slow down, remain alert and obey all posted signs when driving through construction zones.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

***NCDOT***   Copyright N.C. Department of Transportation
1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660