Demographic Considerations

DemoConsid_01North Carolina is a great place to call home, and our growth reflects this reality.  From April 2010 – July 2013, the State’s population increased 3.3 percent to more than 9.8 million people—significantly faster growth than the 2.4 percent realized nationally.  The driving public in North Carolina is very diverse, yet a few populations are overrepresented in fatal and serious-injury crashes, including younger and older drivers, Native Americans, and Hispanics.  To improve safety for all, the characteristics and needs of demographic groups deserve thoughtful consideration in highway safety efforts.

Notable Facts

  • North Carolina has the third-highest migration rate in the US, and the average age of persons moving to the State is 50 years old.
  • Considering all drivers, 19 percent of fatal crashes in North Carolina involve an alcohol-impaired driver; however, the average for alcohol-impaired fatal crashes among Native American and Hispanic drivers is 26 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Emphasis Area Goal

The goal for this emphasis area is to address demographic considerations in highway safety efforts.  The focus is the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries for two demographic groups in particular—older drivers and younger drivers.  In 2013, there were 254 fatalities and 330 serious injuries from crashes involving older drivers (age 65 and older) in North Carolina.  In 2013, there were 111 fatalities and 255 serious injuries from crashes involving younger drivers (ages 16 – 19) in North Carolina.



  • Encourage the use of roadway design practices and traffic control devices that are better suited to accommodate the needs of older drivers and older pedestrians.
  • Adopt or develop a set of programs to help older drivers to decide whether to continue driving and identify adequate alternatives to driving.
  • Improve driver education courses included in high school curricula by improving the content and the delivery.
  • Investigate the effectiveness of programs, policies, and strategies that have been employed across the US to address teen driver training that could also be used in North Carolina to reduce teen crashes.
  • Continue engaging and informing North Carolina’s diverse population on issues of traffic safety.
  • Improve electronic crash data collection and dissemination.
  • Support lifelong driver education.

Indicators of Progress

  • Number of safety efforts that consider the diverse needs of various demographic groups in the program structure and message.
  • Number of tribal groups that integrate crash reports into the NCDMV system.
  • Number of traffic control device improvements implemented in the interest of older drivers and older pedestrians.

Potential Implementing Agencies

  • Advocacy groups
  • Governor’s Highway Safety Program
  • Law enforcement
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
  • University partners

Action Plan

See Appendix B for the Demographic Considerations Action Plan.