RALEIGH (WTVD) -- They're narrow, they curve, they slope and they kill.
Crashes on North Carolina's network of rural roads claim more lives than all but two states in the country, according to report by TRIP, a national transportation research group.
The data from 2015 shows 855 traffic-related deaths on non-interstate rural roads, trailing only Texas and California. The 855 fatalities also accounts for 62% of all traffic deaths in the state, even as only 31% of the population lives in what the state considers rural areas.
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"If you're going to travel this beautiful state, you're going to travel on rural roads," Larry Wooten, President of the NC Farm Bureau, explained to ABC11. "Many of them are winding, narrow and sometimes not very well lit at night."
According to Wooten, more than 50,000 farmers use the rural roads but they're hardly the only ones; tourists travel them to the mountains and the beach, while the growth of the Triangle also extends 20-30 miles outside the city limits.
"Rural roads are important to the economy in North Carolina," Wooten said. "We've got to make sure they remain safe and modern for our transportation needs."
Tiffany Wright, President of AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, asserted some inexpensive improvements can reduce the risk.
"Updated guard rails, wider shoulders and rumble strips can help drivers correct themselves when they've veered off the road," Wright explained. "These safety measures can help prevent some of the tiniest mistakes from turning into big mistakes with deadly consequences. North Carolinians who live and travel on rural roads deserve a transportation system that is safe, sufficient and reliable."
To read the full report, visit http://www.tripnet.org/docs/Rural_Roads_TRIP_Report_2017.pdf
North Carolina rural roads among deadliest in United States
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