RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Is driving in North Carolina getting more dangerous?
One study suggests it is.
A report from auto insurance company QuoteWizard finds the number of traffic deaths rose 19 percent in the first half of 2021.
The state had 855 fatalities in the first part of this year compared to 717 in early 2020.
It puts North Carolina in the top half of the states with the highest increases. Mississippi was first with a 56 percent increase, followed by South Dakota and Oregon, where deaths rose by 51 percent.
Nationally, traffic deaths were up 16 percent during the first half of the year.
North Carolina also had the fifth-highest number of total roadway deaths this year. Texas was first with 2,063, while California and Florida each had more than 1,800.
Not surprisingly, states that are sparsely populated or have few major highways tended to rank lower on the list. Alaska had the fewest deaths (22). Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii and North Dakota each had fewer than 50.
About 42,000 people died on U.S. roadways in 2020, the most since 2007, according to an estimate from the National Safety Council. It came as Americans drove a total of 430 billion fewer miles last year, largely due to lower traffic on roads due to the pandemic.
The company used traffic fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.