North Carolinians drove far less during pandemic. So why did fatal crashes go up?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The numbers seem to defy common sense: Although North Carolinians drove fewer miles during the pandemic, the death toll on the state’s highways climbed to more than 1,500 in 2020 — the highest number in 13 years. In 2020 — a year of stay-at-home orders, curfews and widespread work from home — the number of miles driven dropped 19% but the number of fatal crashes rose 8% over the previous year, North Carolina Department of Transportation data show. “The spike in traffic fatalities is a public health crisis,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway S…

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