Effective this week the state Division of Motor Vehicles has introduced the North Carolina Scrap Vehicle System. Metal recyclers and salvage yards can use the system to verify whether a vehicle brought to them without title and more than 10 years old has been reported stolen. North Carolina salvage yards and recyclers will have to register to access the new system and begin verifying the status of vehicles. If a vehicle is reported stolen, the system will request verification of the vehicle identification number and stop the purchase of the vehicle.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program reports 88.6 percent of state residents buckled up in their 2013 survey… up 1.1 percent from 2012. Counties with the highest seat belt usage were Caldwell and Catawba at 93.8 percent while Robeson County was the lowest at 82.2. The biggest one year improvement was in Columbus County, up to 90.7 percent usage from 77.9 in 2012. Women buckled up more than men by about 5 points while drivers ages 16-24 were least likely to use their seat belt.
House Bill 937 signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in late July amended state firearm laws, including provisions for guns on campuses. The bill will allow persons with concealed carry handgun permits to bring guns on school campuses. That includes events on campus, such as concerts or football games. A press release from East Carolina University notes firearms on campus must be in a locked container attached to a vehicle. A gun in a glove box of a locked vehicle would be compliant, but a gun visible in a locked vehicle would not.
An analysis by Triple A Carolinas lists Pitt County as the most dangerous county in the state for vehicle collisions for the fifth year running. Last year Pitt County had 4633 traffic crashes which worked out to about 307 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled… a rate about 50% higher than the state average of just below 205. Pitt County also was listed 2nd only behind Graham County for the rate of injuries sustained in crashes. TripleA Carolinas president and CEO David E. Parsons said consistently high ranking should be a wake-up call for better traffic enforcement or road design.
The Nature Conservancy announced the acquisition of 459 acres in Pender County. Half of the purchase price will come from the U-S Navy as the protected area will help buffer Camp Lejeune firing ranges from development. The Conservancy plans to restore a long-leaf pine forest to the area in order to expand habitat for the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The land also has some historical significance.