Occupant Protection/Motorcycles


Approximately 40 percent of all passenger vehicle fatalities in North Carolina involve an unrestrained occupant. Although we recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt enforcement campaign, the lack of universal seatbelt use continues to be a problem among certain demographics in our State and across the US. Motorcycle crashes also appear to be on the rise in North Carolina, occurring most frequently in our western mountains, most populated counties, and counties with military bases. Simply put, increased compliance with seatbelt and helmet laws will save lives.

Notable Facts

  • From 2009 – 2013, motorcycle crashes in North Carolina resulted in an annual average of 155 fatalities and 350 serious injuries. During that same time, an average of 433 unrestrained occupants died each year in crashes on North Carolina’s roadways.
  • Among the groups most likely to be involved in a fatal crash in which the occupant was not wearing a seatbelt are males, persons ages 20-24, and drivers of pickup trucks.
  • Half of North Carolina’s motorcycle crashes involve persons age 41 and older.

Emphasis Area Goals

In 2013, there were 411 fatalities and 467 serious injuries from crashes of unrestrained occupants in passenger vehicles and 149 motorcycle fatalities and 310 serious injuries in North Carolina. The goals of this action plan are to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in North Carolina related to occupant protection and motorcycles.


  • Improve enforcement strategies to increase seatbelt use.
  • Identify high-risk counties and demographic groups to inform specific safety countermeasures and messaging specific to restraint use.
  • Continue current and develop new messaging and education programs promoting seatbelt use focusing on high-risk locations or groups.
  • Continue to support and promote North Carolina’s strong motorcycle helmet law.
  • Continue to promote motorcycle safety in North Carolina.
  • Identify high-risk counties and demographic groups to inform specific motorcycle safety countermeasures.

Indicators of Progress

  • Seatbelt and helmet use estimated through crash data and observational/survey efforts.
  • Level of seatbelt enforcement efforts conducted statewide.
  • Level of seatbelt education and awareness efforts conducted statewide.
  • Number of motorcycle safety strategies deployed.

Potential Implementing Agencies

  • Advocacy groups
  • District Attorneys
  • Governor’s Highway Safety Program
  • Law enforcement
  • Motorcycle clubs
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
See Appendix H for the Occupant Protection/Motorcycles Action Plan.