In the wake of a fatal accident this month, residents are questioning the safety of an intersection in Darlington County. According to a story posted on the website of news station WBTW, the intersection of S.C. 340 and Rogers Road saw 62 crashes in the five years between 2002 and 2007. Two were fatal — and the Jan. 11 accident made three. In that crash, a 29-year-old driver failed to yield to a tractor-trailer traveling north on the highway. Residents blame the addition of two turn lanes, which they say creates blind spots. They’re asking for a traffic light at the intersection.
Clearly, the longer an unsafe situation at an intersection is allowed to go on, the more likely it is that it will cause multiple avoidable deaths and injuries. That seems to be the case here, judging from the article:
“We’ve had cars sideways in the ditch. We had an accident … not too long ago, where we had a wreck on Tuesday and then we had a wreck on Thursday,” said Carol Kiker, who lives close to the intersection.
As experienced South Carolina car wreck lawyers, we’re very interested in stories like these at the Louthian Law Firm. Statistically, unsafe roadway design is a relatively rare cause of accidents. Unsafe conditions, like ice on the road, are a more likely cause — and plain old bad driving is most often the culprit. But unsafe intersections are out there. Most commonly, they’re unsafe because they limit drivers’ lines of sight or aren’t controlled by traffic signs or signals. And as this article highlights, a poorly controlled intersection has the potential to cause the same type of accident many, many times over the years before someone steps in.
Because roads are built and controlled by government agencies, most often state and local governments, this is a problem for all taxpayers — not just those who use an unsafe road. Any time an unsafe road is implicated in an avoidable traffic death, the government agency behind that road may be held legally and financially responsible for the results. A government agency has much more money than most drivers do, so it can be asked by a court to pay out much more than an individual. The taxpayers lose twice — once because they’re endangered by the unsafe road, and again when they have to pay for the foreseeable, avoidable results. That’s why we hope the residents of Darlington County get the traffic light they’re asking for. It may cost us all some time and money — but that’s a price most of us would gladly pay to cut down on serious and fatal New Jersey auto accidents.