RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An advocacy group ranks North Carolina in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to road safety.

The state was one of 36 that received a yellow “caution” rating on the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group’s latest annual report card released Tuesday.

Three key numbers it tracks have increased in the state since the 2020 edition, with the number of deaths up 18 percent, the 10-year count rising by 5 percent and the annual economic impact climbing by nearly 30 percent.

It says 1,627 people died on the roads in 2021, counted 14,088 deaths over the past 10 years and sets the yearly price tag at nearly $10.3 billion.

The group scored each state in six key areas, awarding two points for a green/good rating, one for a yellow caution and none for a red danger.

North Carolina was one of 15 states that received a total of four points. Oregon had the highest score with 10 points while Montana and Wyoming each had the lowest with one point.

Five states — Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Maryland and Rhode Island — and the District of Columbia received the highest overall rating of green. Nine were graded as 

The group gave North Carolina no points in three of those areas: child passenger safety, teen driving — graduated driver licensing programs, and automated enforcement to curb speeding.

Among the changes the group says North Carolina needs to make:

— Primary enforcement of the rear seat belt law.

— Infants and toddlers should be in rear-facing seats through at least age 2.

— Children should ride in booster seats until they can properly use a rear seat belt,

— Beginning drivers should be at least 16 to obtain a permit and 17 to obtain a license.

— Beginning drivers should have at least 70 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult licensed driver.

— No unsupervised driving after 8 p.m.

— Ban teenage non-family members from riding with a teen driver without adult supervision.

— Ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk-driving offenders.

— Allow for automated speed enforcement.

— Use automated speed enforcement.