News Briefs

Posted 10/14/20

Drones are NCDOT’s newest tool in maintaining the state’s bridges and other infrastructure. The Federal …

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News Briefs

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NCDOT awarded first-ever waiver for drone bridge inspections

Drones are NCDOT’s newest tool in maintaining the state’s bridges and other infrastructure. The Federal Aviation Administration approved a waiver that allows NCDOT to operate drones beyond visual line of sight while conducting bridge inspections.

This announcement makes the department the first state transportation agency to have been awarded such a waiver, paving the way for other states to fully use drones in bridge and infrastructure inspections.

October: Statistically deadliest month on NC roadways

The department is stressing safety awareness this month because October is statistically the deadliest month on North Carolina roadways.

Law enforcement agencies across the state will increase patrols this weekend, looking for impaired drivers and speeders and checking for seat belt usage as part of this month’s Operation Crash Reduction campaign. The weekend leading up to Columbus Day weekend trails only Independence Day for the number of fatal crashes, so please remember to always buckle up, slow down, avoid distractions and never drive impaired.

Also, for many communities, the first full week in October is when we come together for Walk to School Day. While many students aren’t learning in the classroom this semester, it’s important to remember that when the time comes everyone should take responsibility for making sure the walk to school is a safe one. In 2018, 17% of children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes nationwide were pedestrians. For tips on how we can reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths, visit watchformeNC.org.

For more information about NCDOT Now, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 707-2660. Additional news stories from throughout the week can be found on NCDOT.gov.

Applications now available for innovative young farmer award

STATESVILLE — The Farm Credit Associations of NC are excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Innovative Young Farmer of the Year Award given by the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina.

Eligible nominees must be between the ages of 18 and 40 as of Jan. 1, 2021. Nominees are to either be in school for agriculture/agribusiness or have worked in the agriculture industry for less than ten years. The application process, open until Dec. 4, enables nominees to discuss means by which they are positively impacting their operation, as well as the greater agricultural community in North Carolina.

The Innovative Young Farmer of the Year Award is presented annually at the Breakfast with the Commissioner held in conjunction with the 2021 Southern Farm Show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Please visit the Tobacco Farm Life Museum website at tobaccofarmlifemuseum.org/innovative-young-farmer-of-the-year to apply for this award. Applications must be submitted electronically through the link above.

“Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina,” said Vance Dalton, CEO of Carolina Farm Credit. “It is imperative to reward young farmers who have a commitment to continuing the great legacy of farmers and rural communities throughout the state. The Farm Credit Associations of NC are proud to support innovative-minded farmers in North Carolina.”

—CN+R staff reports

Roadway deaths rates drop across NC

There’s promising news on our roadways — North Carolina’s traffic deaths decreased in 2019 by 4.4%, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The decrease is nearly twice the national rate. According to the report, 1,373 people were killed in North Carolina traffic crashes in 2019, which is 63 fewer than 2018.

Animal-vehicle crashes soar in latest NCDOT report

RALEIGH —­ The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes climbed considerably in the latest annual report from the N.C. Dept. of Transportation.

There was an increase of more than 2,300 crashes in 2019 when compared to the 2018 statewide total, with the overall figure reaching 20,331 crashes.

The increase can in part be attributed to the growth the state continues to have, with more drivers on the road and more development. That pushes animals, primarily deer, which account for about 90 percent of all animal-related crashes, into more opportunities for a dangerous encounter with vehicles.

North Carolina is also entering the three worst months for such crashes with October, November and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years.

The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years.

For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019 — an increase of 245 from the previous year and its highest total since 2013. Over the past three years, those crashes killed one person, injured 137 and caused $7.3 million in damages.

Guilford County is a distant second in the 2019 numbers at 649 crashes, followed by Pitt County at 605, Randolph County at 536 and Union County at 531. Rounding out the top 10 are Mecklenburg, Duplin, Brunswick, Rockingham and Robeson counties.

Far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

Swain, Yancey, Alleghany and Mitchell counties round out the bottom five with just 65 crashes combined.

The most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45 percent of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

• Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.

• Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.

• Slow down in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.

• Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.

• Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.

• Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.

• If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.

• Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

If your vehicle does strike a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.

—CN+R staff reports

Siler City plans virtual Halloween costume contest

SILER CITY — Enter your “spook”-tacular Halloween costume photo in the 2020 Siler City Virtual Costume Contest for your chance to win prizes! Organized by the Town of Siler City Parks and Recreation Department, the contest is designed for virtual festive fun for all ages. To enter the Virtual Halloween Costume Contest, participants must submit a photo by emailing Siler City Parks and Recreation at recreation@silercity.org by Saturday, October 31, 2020, at midnight. Email submissions are required and must include the age category of the participant (age determined as of October 31, 2020) along with the name of the participant (and name of a guardian if the participant is under 18) and a contact number.

By emailing your submission, you are automatically entered into the contest and a winner will be randomly drawn on Monday, November 2, 2020 and announced on the Siler City Parks and Recreation Social Media pages (@SilerCityParksRec on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and on the town website (www.silercity.org).

Prizes will be given to the first-place participant(s) in the following categories: ages 0-4, ages 5-10, ages 11-15, ages 16+ and family/group (all participants must be in costume).

Contest rules include all submissions must be via emailing recreation@silercity.org, submissions must be submitted no later than Saturday, October 31, 2020, at midnight, and Parks and Recreation staff reserves the right to not accept any offensive or obscene submissions. Siler City Parks & Recreation encourages everyone to be unique, be festive & have fun!

If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Spivey with the Siler City Parks and Recreation Department at (919) 742-2699, email recreation@silercity.org or visit us online at www.silercity.org.

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