News & Opinion

A Look at Vehicle-Related Deaths on Charlotte Streets in 2022

A man rides his bike down a street next to three cars. The city opened launched a Vision Zero plan to reduce vehicle-related deaths in 2019
The city launched a Vision Zero plan to reduce vehicle-related deaths in 2019. (Photo by David Flowers/City of Charlotte)

According to a tracker put together by Queen City Nerve that recorded traffic fatalities throughout 2022, the total number of people killed in vehicle-related incidents on Charlotte roads last year reached 61, less than previous years both during and preceding the pandemic. 

Queen City Nerve’s map, seen below, only kept track of incidents that occurred on Charlotte streets that are kept up by the city and under the jurisdiction of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. That does not include highways such as I-77 and I-85, which are patrolled by the North Carolina Highway Patrol. 


In the above map, red markers corroborate with a person killed in their car, black markers corroborate with pedestrian deaths, and purple markers corroborate with motorcycle deaths. 

Traffic fatality data can be hard to come by, which inspired us to create this map in the first place, but we do know that the 2022 total is an improvement over the previous year, during which 61 people had already been killed in vehicle-related incidents by early October.  

Between 2012-2016, 238 people were killed on Charlotte’s streets, an average of about 48 people each year, an increase from the average of 39 traffic fatalities in the previous five years. Then in 2017, 71 crashes resulted in 74 deaths on Charlotte streets. It was the third consecutive yearly increase in traffic fatalities, and that’s without including the 27 pedestrians killed that year.

Our 2022 total does include pedestrian deaths, of which we found 20, nearly a third of all vehicle-related fatalities. Our tracker also found that 12 of the deaths involving people riding in vehicles, or 29%, were motorcycle drivers or passengers. 

In 2018 the city developed the Vision Zero plan, which set a goal to reduce the number of fatal car crashes in our city to zero by 2030. Charlotte City Council adopted Vision Zero in 2019. While much of the first two years of the program has consisted of research and analysis, CDOT has begun implementing safety measures on city streets, as we reported in October 2021.

The city saw 81 vehicle-related fatalities in 2020, and it appears 2022 is the first year since Vision Zero was implemented in which traffic fatalities saw a decrease from the years leading up to it. 

Note: We have also tracked every homicide in Charlotte for the last three years. 

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