South Carolina’s rural roads are the most fatal in the nation according to TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group. TRIP’s study, titled, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” reports on various transportation challenges facing the nation, including traffic safety, access and connectivity, and deficient road conditions. The study lists 25 states that led the nation in the number of rural traffic fatalities, with South Carolina in first place.
Rural vs. Urban Road Fatalities
A disproportionate share of fatalities occurs on rural roads compared to the amount of traffic they carry. The fatality rate for rural, non-interstate roads is approximately two and a half times higher than all other roads. TRIP’s study revealed that in South Carolina, almost four times more fatal car accidents occurred on rural roads than on interstates.
One reason for the large number of fatalities on rural roads is the lack of roadway features that interstates often have, such as guardrails and rumble strips. Also, there may be longer emergency response times, either because emergency responders must travel further to reach the site of an accident or because rural car wrecks are not reported as quickly as interstate accidents. To make South Carolina’s rural roads safer, the AAA Foundation for Safety President suggests implementing updated guardrails, wider shoulders, and rumble strips. She believes that these improvements may help drivers self-correct when they veer off the road.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman agrees with her suggestions, noting that most traffic accidents are the result of either distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to yield the right of way. He explains that the most common wreck on secondary roads in South Carolina is a vehicle that veers off the right side of the road, onto the shoulder, and loses control. On rural roads, the consequences of this and other errors are magnified due to rural road conditions, such as more driveways, farm equipment on the roads, and vehicles traveling in different directions at different speeds.
Efforts to Improve South Carolina’s Rural Roads
Earlier this year, the South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary reported that 54 percent of South Carolina’s pavements were rated poor and that 6,812 crashes resulting in fatal injuries occurred on rural roads. In response to this crisis, the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act of 2017 was passed. This new law raises the state’s gas tax and vehicle sales tax to help pay for road improvements.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has also implemented the Rural Roads Safety Program, which will facilitate the repair and upgrade of dangerous roads with high numbers of fatal and serious injury crashes around the state, notably sections of U.S. 701, S.C. 9, S.C. 22 and S.C. 90.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Injured on South Carolina’s Rural Roads
If you have been injured in a car accident on South Carolina’s rural roads, contact a knowledgeable Columbia car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least nine out of 10 car crashes in the U.S. every year are caused by driver error. If your accident was caused by a negligent motorist, we can explain your best options for pursuing financial recovery. Contact us online or call us at 866-881-8623 for a free consultation. We represent accident victims in Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County, South Carolina.