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5/27/2016: This Week at N.C. Transportation: Governor Pat McCrory’s “Driving Change” Initiative Reaches Milestone

This Week at N.C. Transportation: Governor Pat McCrory’s “Driving Change” Initiative Reaches Milestone

Posted 5/27/2016 2:15:43 PM

NC kicks off “Click It or Ticket” campaign; Officials highlight importance of work zone safety; NC By Train offers special summer fare for kids   RALEIGH — The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, N.C. Transportation Now, which can be viewed by clicking here. Governor Pat McCrory’s “Driving Change” Initiative Reaches Milestone As a part of Governor Pat McCrory’s “Driving Change” initiative to better serve North Carolinians, the Division of Motor Vehicles began offering online renewal of driver licenses last year. As of May 20, more than 355,000 North Carolina drivers have now renewed their licenses online, resulting in customer time savings of nearly 178,000 hours. Governor McCrory applauded this milestone and invited other drivers to give it a try and join the thousands of residents who have found it quicker and more convenient to renew their license with a credit or debit card and have it delivered right to their door. Online renewal is just one of the changes the McCrory administration has introduced over the past two-and-a-half years through the governor’s initiative.  It has modernized and enhanced offices by adopting new equipment to speed driver license transactions and recently began accepting credit and debit card payments for the first time, among other efforts to improve customer service and reduce wait times NC Launches “Click It or Ticket” Campaign to Encourage Safety and Save Lives   This week, North Carolina kicked off its “Click It or Ticket” education and enforcement program. The campaign began May 23 and continues through June 5. Now in its 23rd year, “Click It or Ticket” aims to increase seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across the state.  During the campaign, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement officers to keep those who drive our highways safe. Governor McCrory has also proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month. In 2015, 415 people who were not using seat belts were killed and an additional 436 others were seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina.  During that same year, nearly 42 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities were unrestrained. Transportation Officials Highlight the Importance of Work Zone Safety to Prevent Injuries and Fatalities Governor McCrory also brought attention to the importance of highway safety by declaring as April Work Zone Safety Awareness month, and as summer construction season begins, we all need to do our part when driving through work zones. Secretary Nick Tennyson and officials from the Associated General Contractors of America joined the contractor at the Eastern Loop project in Greensboro this week, where they echoed Governor McCrory’s call for better awareness of the importance of work zone safety. At the event, the AGC released the results of a national study that shows that 43 percent of highway contractors in North Carolina report motor vehicles crashed into their work zones during the past year.  In 2015, there were more than 4,600 work zone crashes in North Carolina, resulting in 19 deaths and nearly 2,500 people injured. Three of the fatalities were construction workers. Tragically, this year we have already seen 10 more fatalities, including two contractor employees, and close to 1,000 injuries. Officials reminded drivers to Drive Smart, Do Your Part. Obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road when you see construction signs and orange barrels.  In addition to the initial ticket and court costs, a conviction for speeding in a designated work zone in North Carolina will bring an additional fine of $250. Workers do not need to be present in a work zone for a speeder to be cited. NC By Train Offering $5 Kids Fares this Summer Families looking for a fun outing this summer can enjoy a special $5 kids fare to travel the rails. NC By Train is offering this special one-way fare through Aug. 31. ***NCDOT***
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5/27/2016: Governor McCrory Celebrates Opening of Completed Goldsboro Bypass

Governor McCrory Celebrates Opening of Completed Goldsboro Bypass

Posted 5/27/2016 1:07:03 PM

Goldsboro, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory and N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson joined state and local representatives Friday morning to open the completed U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass. The new bypass will relieve heavy traffic congestion, improve local access and increase safety along the corridor. “The Goldsboro Bypass is a great example of what we are working to accomplish throughout the state, relieving the bottlenecks that are not just an obstacle to efficient travel, but also to increased prosperity and improved quality of life,” Governor McCrory said. “This bypass brings us closer to realizing our vision for this corridor and the many benefits that come from improved highway connections.” The 11.9-mile eastern section that opens today completes the bypass, which now spans more than 20 miles from U.S. 70 just west of N.C. 581 in Wayne County to U.S. 70 just east of Promise Land Road in Lenoir County. The construction cost for the entire bypass project is approximately $235 million, meeting its planned budget expectations. The project was completed in three sections, with the 3.9-mile central section opening to traffic in December 2011 and the 5.9-mile western section opening in October 2015. “The Goldsboro Bypass illustrates how North Carolina is improving mobility and preparing for growth through new transportation infrastructure,” Secretary Tennyson said. “We are able to complete more critical improvements like this throughout North Carolina thanks to the 2015 budget signed by Governor McCrory that added more than $700 million in new funding for transportation projects.” The new bypass is a major part of Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities. Specifically, the bypass will provide greater access to key destinations along the U.S. 70 Corridor, including Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the State Port in Morehead City, and the Global TransPark in Kinston, as well as North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. The project will also improve connections to Interstate 95. On Wednesday, The American Association of State and Transportation approved I-42 as the designation for the U.S. 70 corridor between I-40 and Morehead City. “The designation of the U.S. 70 corridor as an interstate will facilitate economic growth in Eastern North Carolina by enhancing freight movement and encouraging businesses to move to the region,” continued Governor McCrory. New transportation projects in the state’s current 10-year plan are funded through the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of more efficiently investing transportation dollars by using a data-driven scoring process along with local input to fund more projects and create more jobs. The new mobility formula was passed into law in 2013 under Governor McCrory’s leadership. The road will be open to traffic this afternoon, following the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Further improvements to the road, such as the installation of large overhead signs to delineate the U.S. 70 Bypass, will be completed after the opening. NCDOT has notified private mapping companies to ensure the bypass will populate on mobile phones. For more information on the U.S. Goldsboro Bypass project, visit the project’s website. *** NCDOT ***
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5/24/2016: Transportation Officials Highlight the Importance of Work Zone Safety to Prevent Injuries and Fatalities

Transportation Officials Highlight the Importance of Work Zone Safety to Prevent Injuries and Fatalities

Posted 5/24/2016 4:58:24 PM

RALEIGH — A study released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) shows 43 percent of highway contractors in North Carolina report motor vehicles crashed into their work zones during the past year. N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, state transportation staff and AGC officials joined the contractor at the Eastern Loop interstate project in Greensboro this afternoon to echo Governor Pat McCrory’s call for better awareness of the importance of work zone safety. “Highway safety is one of Governor McCrory’s top priorities,” said Secretary Tennyson. “With the summer travel season starting this weekend, it is important to remind motorists that slowing down and paying attention in work zones can prevent injuries and fatalities.” There were more than 4,600 work zone crashes in North Carolina in 2015, resulting in 19 deaths and 2,475 people injured. Three of the fatalities were construction workers. Tragically, this year has seen 10 more fatalities, including two contractor employees, and close to 1,000 injuries. Governor McCrory brought attention the importance of highway safety in April by issuing a proclamation that urges drivers to take extra care when driving through work zones. “Our state is dedicated to enhancing work zone safety for both the highway worker and the travelling public,” Governor McCrory said in April. “Keeping our roads safe is a shared responsibility, and all citizens must do their part.” With the warmer weather, construction activity gears up across the state, with more than 600 active work zones. Work zone safety is important on fast-moving highways as well as local roads where maintenance activities like mowing, pothole patching and other repairs, and utility work occur. “To keep both drivers and highway workers safe, we ask all drivers to obey the posted speed limit, put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road when they see construction signs and orange barrels,” said Brian Turmail, the AGC national spokesman. National statistics show that four out of five work zone fatalities are motorists, and that more than half of work zone crashes are the result of speeding and driver inattention. More than 50 percent are caused by speeding and distracted driving, with 71 percent happen on clear days and 80 percent on dry road conditions. Among the tips to stay safe in a work zone are: Slow down; Stay alert; Respect the work zone signs, flaggers, and warnings; Turn on your headlights; Don’t tailgate; Stay in one lane; Don’t drive distracted – put down the phone, don’t eat while you drive; Don’t drink and drive; Obey posted speed limits; Watch for workers; Exercise patience; and Expect the unexpected. In addition to endangering their own life, as well as of any passenger, other motorists and construction workers, a driver speeding through a wok zone can pay a different kind of price. In attention to the initial ticket and court costs, a conviction for speeding in a designated work zone in North Carolina will bring an additional fine of $250. And workers do not need to be present in a work zone for a speeder to be cited. The AGC work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms the association conducted this March and April. Over 800 contractors completed the survey nationwide, including 21 contractors from North Carolina.  The NCDOT has a dedicated program to educate citizens on work zone safety, and information about its efforts can be found on the Department website. ***NCDOT***
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5/23/2016: Have a Safe Summer by Staying off the Tracks

Have a Safe Summer by Staying off the Tracks

Posted 5/23/2016 1:34:46 PM

RALEIGH – Governor McCrory launched his 25-Year Vision for North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure with rail as a critical component. In 2015, North Carolina had the most exports to international markets in state history, totaling $31.2 billion, and rail service plays a critical role in supporting these businesses that export. With our growing economy and increased rail traffic, safety is our top priority. As summer break begins across North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division wants to remind parents and students of the dangers and legal issues of walking along, playing on, or taking pictures on railroad tracks. Railroad tracks –and the land along them, known as the right of way– are privately owned by the railroad companies. Being on the railroad tracks is trespassing and can result in an arrest or fine. Trains do not run on a strict timetable. Freight trains run at all hours of the day and passenger trains can be delayed and show up unexpectedly. Always expect a train at any time from either direction. There is no safe time to be on the tracks, ever. Trains cannot stop quickly to avoid hitting someone on the tracks, and they certainly cannot swerve. It can be impossible to get off the tracks in time to avoid an oncoming train, and the train may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. So far in 2016, nine people have been struck and killed in North Carolina because they were trespassing on railroad tracks, including three people in May. Twenty people were killed in both 2014 and 2015. Under Governor McCrory’s leadership, NCDOT is improving rail safety through crossing improvements and educational outreach through its BeRailSafe Program, a railroad crossing safety initiative. All trespassing deaths and incidents can be avoided. It is never okay to walk on railroad tracks - always cross tracks at a designated location such as an at-grade crossing, a bridge or an underpass. Please help spread the word that railroad tracks are dangerous and should not be used as shortcuts for any reason. Help save lives by staying off of the tracks. ***NCDOT***
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5/23/2016: NC Launches Click It or Ticket Campaign to Encourage Vehicle Passenger Safety and Save Lives

NC Launches Click It or Ticket Campaign to Encourage Vehicle Passenger Safety and Save Lives

Posted 5/23/2016 11:31:50 AM

Raleigh – North Carolina today kicked off the 23rd year of the state’s Click It or Ticket education and enforcement program to remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The campaign aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years. In fact, between 2010 – 2014, an average of 545 lives were saved per year due to the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles. “We are always working to improve the safety of North Carolina motorists and wearing your seat belt is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “The Click It or Ticket campaign reminds both drivers and passengers that seat belts save lives.” Governor Pat McCrory has stressed the importance of using seat belts, and cited his recent accident in California after the Super Bowl as a good example. He was a passenger in the back seat of a California Highway Patrol car that was rear-ended. The governor credited wearing his seat belt as the reason he was not seriously injured. Secretary Tennyson joined Highway Patrol Commander Colonel Bill Grey, Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Don Nail and nearly two hundred law enforcement officers to kickoff the campaign. Robert Hassell, president of N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, and trauma surgeon Dr. Miren Schinco also spoke to the audience about the importance of seat belt safety. "As the summer travel season begins, we want to remind passengers that it is the law to wear your seat belt in every seat,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “If you fail to buckle up, at the very least you could receive fines of up to $179 but ultimately you could lose your life if you are involved in a crash.” During the annual national Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which begins today, Monday, May 23, and continues through Monday, June 5, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement officers day and night across the state to keep those who drive our highways safe. This enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. "As Memorial Day approaches, traffic will increase throughout North Carolina. We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend," said Colonel Grey. "Please fasten your seat belts, obey the speed limit and don’t drink and drive. The choices you make can be difference between life and death.” In 2015, 415 people were killed and an additional 436 others were seriously injured who were not using seat belts in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina. During that same year, 41.8 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities were unrestrained. North Carolina law requires all passengers in a vehicle to be properly restrained. Nevertheless, many backseat passengers believe they do not need to use a seat belt. In fact, a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report confirmed that 22 percent of backseat passengers do not buckle up. The most recent available data revealed that in 2014, 48 percent of backseat passengers in North Carolina that were killed were unrestrained. The DOT estimates that people not wearing a seat belt in either the front or back seat of a vehicle are 30 times more likely to be ejected during a crash. Another sobering statistic estimates that in fatal crashes, more than three out of four people who are ejected die from their injuries.  To complement the enforcement efforts, the N.C. Department of Transportation and GHSP produced several public service announcements to stress the importance of wearing a seat belt in Every seat, Every time. The advertisements are running on both traditional and non-traditional media through the end of May. Governor Pat McCrory has also proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this Memorial Day holiday, we recommend the following safety tips to drivers and passengers as they travel: Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time; Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you have a sober designated driver; Obey the posted speed limit; Keep a safe following distance; Turn on your headlights in the rain; and Put away all distractions including cell phones - it can wait. For more information regarding Click It or Ticket activities, contact Jonathan Bandy at (919) 814-3657 or visit the GHSP website. ***NCDOT***
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