N.C. OCME Annual Report 1995
Chapter 6: Motor Vehicle Accidents
Of the 2,682 deaths that are ruled accidental in manner, 1,557, or 58 percent, involved motor vehicles. Figure 18 shows that drivers involved in a collision with another motor vehicle comprised 30.1 percent of the deaths, followed by drivers not involved in a collision with another vehicle (21.9%) and passengers involved in a collision with another motor vehicle (13.9%). Of the 1,171 drivers and passengers killed in single-or multiple-vehicle crashes, 462, or 39.5 percent, were known to be using a seat belt or other restraint.
The percentages of alcohol use for each type of motor vehicle accident deaths are shown in Figure 19. Alcohol was a major factor among drivers in a single-vehicle accident, passengers in a single-vehicle accident, pedestrians, and motorcycle users.
= Driver, Single Vehicle PS-SV = Passenger, Single Vehicle
Table 9 reveals that between 1991 and 1995, the percentage of drivers who were under the influence declined. Pedestrian alcohol use also declined considerably.
The percentages of intoxicated decedents (defined as having a blood alcohol level of 100mg/dl or more) by circumstance and time of injury are shown in Figure 20. The time period 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. had the highest percentage of intoxicated decedents in all circumstances. It is striking that in that time period, over two-thirds of fatally injured pedestrians and drivers of single vehicle fatalities had blood alcohol levels at or above DWI levels.
Table 9: 1991-1995 Medical Examiner Motor Vehicle Driver and Pedestrian Fatalities By Year, Circumstance, and Alcohol Level
Table 10 shows motor vehicle accident death rates by race and sex. Nonwhite males had the highest death rate and the death rates for males was more than double that of females. Alcohol involvement was most common in motor vehicle accident deaths involving white and nonwhite males (Figure 21).
Table 10: 1995 Medical Examiner Motor Vehicle Accident Death Rates by Race and Sex (per 100,000 population)
Motor vehicle accident death rates by age and the age-specific percentage of motor vehicle accident deaths by alcohol level are shown in Figures 22 and 23 respectively. The age group 15-24 had the highest death rate, while the age group 25-34 had the highest percentage of victims intoxicated. Alcohol was common in all but the 65+ age group.
Figure 24 shows that the highest number of deaths occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight. Non-drinking victims were killed during daylight hours; while drinkers died more frequently between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. Figure 25 shows that fatal accidents were most common on weekends.