SC Rural Roads: Poor Maintenance and Improperly Maintained Roads Are Dangerous
As you are driving down I-26, I-77, or I-20, you may look out for dangerous drivers who may cause an accident. You may not pay attention to dangerous road conditions and/or improperly maintained roads when you think about a car wreck in SC. As a South Carolina dangerous road accident attorney, we know that poor road conditions can lead to an accident. Problems may appear on the main roads and interstates, but poor road conditions are even more likely to appear on SC rural roads. A report published on Thursday, July 10th, that examined the state of rural roads across the country shows that South Carolina’s roads create serious traffic hazards. Dangerous roadway problems include:
- narrow lanes,
- shoulder drop offs,
- uneven pavement,
- improper and/or no guardrail,
- no stoplight, sign, or warning,
- low visibility, or
- objects on the road.
The report, published by TRIP, a nation non-profit traffic research group, showed that SC rural roads were six times deadlier than other rural roads across the US.
The study found that South Carolina’s rural roads had 3.99 fatalities per 100 million miles of vehicle travel; the next closest state was Florida, with 3.35 fatalities per 100 million miles on that state’s rural roads, followed by West Virginia, with a rate of 2.8 fatalities.
“I think it is a wake-up call to South Carolina’s Legislature,” said Tom Crosby, spokesman for AAA Carolinas, the motor club that advocates for highway safety. “People are losing their lives because we haven’t raised the state gas tax to help keep our roads and bridges in good shape.”
Senator Thomas Alexander, Walhalla-R, stated that the traffic fatality rate on the state’s rural roads is “unacceptable.”
“Hopefully this will be a call to action for the Legislature to put a focus on those roads,” he said.
TRIP, created in 1971 as a nonprofit to research and evaluate economic data about transportation issues and traffic problems across the United States, submitted the report just as Congress begins debating what to do about the national highway trust fund, which is running out of money. The report showed that rural roads across the nation are in desperate need of funds, and lack many basic safety features, such as structurally sound bridges. These issues create significant problems for agricultural traffic, such as transportation of livestock and locally-grown foods.
“As this report makes clear, Washington’s failure to adequately fund repairs to our aging network of roads and bridges is having an even worse impact on our rural roads than the rest of our transportation system,” said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors of America.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation lists at least half of the SC rural roads as in poor shape. Two years ago, a task force in the state studied rural roads and estimated that real traffic and road safety improvements would cost $29 billion over 20 years.
Sen. Alexander said that the DOT says that the agency tries to resurface roads and add traffic safety measures to SC rural roads as much as possible.
“When they are resurfacing, they are adding an additional two feet to each side to try and help, to the best of their ability, so if a car goes off the road it doesn’t overcorrect,” he said. “Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Rick Todd, president of the South Carolina Trucking association, says that the state of South Carolina’s rural roads contributes significantly to traffic accidents and fatalities.
“I do believe if the roads were less crowded, we had better shoulders, better lighting and better striping and the road condition itself was safer, we could make an impact on those numbers,” he said. “But I really think most of our problems come down to just drivers.”
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Traffic Accidents and Injuries
Our car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom, and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills; lost wages and future earnings; your pain and suffering; and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Contact the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and how we can help. 803.252.4800