'Like NASCAR on the road:' Extreme speeding brings death to North Carolina highways: N&O report

The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer sought out to find out how often extreme speeding happens in North Carolina and whether the COVID-19 pandemic made highways deadlier.

The two found nearly 92% of extreme speeders get breaks in court that allow them to avoid full penalties.


The investigation by the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer in Raleigh found situations where drivers fly 20, 30, even 50 mph over the speed limit have increased dramatically in North Carolina, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic started.


Some law enforcement officers have even clocked drivers going nearly 200 mph. Enforcement has been spotty amid the pandemic and overwhelmed courts let speeders off easy, the News & Observer said.

Throughout the investigation, the N&O and Charlotte Observer found:

  • While North Carolinians drove fewer miles throughout the pandemic, the death toll on the state's roads jumped 12% over the previous year. Speeding contributed to a quarter of deadly wrecks, playing a bigger part than alcohol.

  • Speed enforcement has declined in North Carolina during the last five years, despite the growth in the state's population.

  • Some super speeders are caught doing it again and again. More than 16,000 people have been charged at least three times with extreme speeding from 2016 through 2020.

According to NCDOT data, someone died last year in a speed-related crash every 21 hours in North Carolina.

For more, read the entire News & Observer article here.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.