A new report suggests South Carolina’s rural roads are some of the deadliest in the nation.
The National Transportation Research Group (TRIP) released a report Thursday that outlines problems it blames on the country’s “inadequate” infrastructure. The TRIP report found the fatality rate on the state’s rural roads was 3.99 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012. That rate was higher than any other state.
For comparison, the rate for non-rural roads was 0.68 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles in South Carolina, according to TRIP
TRIP Director of Policy and Research Rocky Moretti believes the fatality rate is so high because roads in rural areas lack certain safety features.
“Rural roads often times do not have the same type of roadway safety features that you see on other roads that have a significant impact in terms of keeping people safe,” Moretti said. “Things like rumble strips both on the outside lanes and also in the center lane, paved shoulders, turn lanes, good lane markings, good lighting, all of these features are very critical in improving safety.”
Moretti says the South Carolina Department of Transportation has made strides in making roads safer, but funding is scarce now that the federal Highway Trust Fund is running out.
“The South Carolina Department of Transportation has started to make efforts in this area,” Moretti said. “If they had adequate resources they’d like to accelerate this program, and certainly local governments could also do a lot more to make rural roads safer, but they have to have the resources to pay for these improvements.”
Moretti says it’s important for the government to solve that problem so the state can have the funds to improve roads.
“Later this summer the federal program will start to be curtailed slightly which will limit funding to South Carolina to make its rural roads safer,” Moretti said. “So it’s absolutely critical this summer that congress find a solution to keep the federal highway program runnning.”