RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Traffic deaths in North Carolina climbed by 18 percent from 2019 to 2021, a report claims.

The report from the transportation research nonprofit TRIP this week found the increase in the state was slightly lower than it was nationally.

Those fatalities were up 19 percent across the nation during that time period.
A total of 1,627 people were killed on North Carolina’s roads in 2021, up from 1,538 in 2020 and 1,373 in 2019, according to the report.

Fatalities increased even as motorists drove fewer miles during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study found.

In North Carolina, there were 1.12 deaths per 100 million vehicular miles traveled in 2019. That rate spiked to 1.45 in 2020 before falling to 1.38 in 2021.

That rate still climbed by 23 percent over that period of time.

The study found a sharp dip in the total number of miles driven in North Carolina during the first year of the pandemic, followed by a rebound to near-pre-pandemic levels.

There were 122.5 billion vehicular miles traveled in 2019, but that total fell to 106.3 billion — a 13 percent decline — the following year. It shot back up to 118 billion miles in 2021.