Are Bad Roads in South Carolina to Blame for Traffic Accidents?
Distracted driving, intoxication and insufficient training can all be causes for car accidents, but what about bad roads? Driving mistakes can be caused by pot holes, cracks and warped pavement, especially during wet or icy weather. Any other structural damage or deterioration can also contribute to an accident.
In 2015, the National Transportation Research Group reported that the number of traffic deaths in South Carolina was much higher than the national average of 1.13 fatalities per million miles of vehicle travel. The state’s rate of 1.76 fatalities puts South Carolina tied with West Virginia as the deadliest state for travel in the nation.
The officials delivering the report said that many of the state’s major roadways were deteriorating. As many as 46 percent of the highways and roads were in need of repairs, a number much higher than it has been in recent years. In addition to the roads, there were also several bridges that needed attention. A full 11 percent of the state’s bridges were deficient structurally, while 21 percent were not up to state standards because of deterioration.
TRIP officials and some business leaders in the area claimed this information was a call for increased action by elected officials. Being known as the state with the worst bridges and roads in the country is not a distinction that local leaders want to have. TRIP estimates that the faulty bridges and roads were costing residents across the state $3 billion each year in delays due to congestion and vehicle crashes. Some areas were predicted to be even more expensive for residents since roads were in worse shape and causing significant wear, repair costs and wasted fuel.
One of the main reasons action needs to be taken is that a faulty infrastructure system can stunt economic growth. South Carolina’s reputation could be damaged, discouraging new residents from moving in and disrupting business growth. By not addressing the problem, the economy of the entire state could be affected.
Another reason for the rise in fatalities may be that there are more people traveling the roads. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported that vehicles leave the road in almost 50 percent of the crashes that result in fatalities. Around 20 percent of these involve drivers who hit trees after running off the road. Officials are claiming that this statistic shows that there isn’t enough room on the side of the road for vehicles to avoid crashes.
While there are many reasons for the increase in road fatalities, recent reports point to the insufficient road safety as a large part of the problem. State officials need to consider the impact that the poor infrastructure is having on the business success and lives of the residents of South Carolina and make needed changes.