Crashes in Chapel Hill down 40 percent – but speeding is on the rise, police chief says

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Vehicle crashes are down by nearly 40 percent in the Town of Chapel Hill.

According to Police Chief Chris Blue, the significant reduction of crashes is due to the lower traffic volume since the coronavirus pandemic started.

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“We are really pleased with that and need to keep it up, especially as folks are moving around a little bit more now and getting a little more comfortable with this new normal,” Blue said.

The police department said crashes involving injuries are down by 38 percent from this time last year. While this is good news, the police department did say more drivers are speeding.

“It is good to remember to slow down, be neighborly, understand that everybody around you is experiencing the same stress that you are. Add a little extra time in your day in your commute because we really are all in this together,” said Blue.

UNC-Chapel Hill students began moving on campus this week. The first day of the fall semester is on Aug. 10. Blue is encouraging drivers to be vigilant and realize there will be more people out walking around.

“This is the time that people are getting out to get fresh air and shake off that cabin fever. We ask you to slow down, keep your eyes open, keep the phone out of your hand, and let’s keep each other safe during this time when we really need to pull together,” he said.

Officers are patrolling major intersections to crack down on speeding. The chief said officers are wearing masks and social distancing when responding to calls.

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