In an alarming statement on the lack of safety on the roads in South Carolina, a group of business leaders released a report on Tuesday, February 12th that details the loss of life and economic toll of accidents on South Carolina roads. The statistics paint a grim picture: Someone dies in a South Carolina auto accident about every eight hours. Economically speaking, the carnage inflicted by the state’s dangerous roads is $3.7 billion a year.
That breaks down to $863 per South Carolinian to cover medical costs, lost economic and household productivity, psychological or emotional trauma, property damage and travel delays. Given these numbers, the report contends that the state is not spending enough to fix the problem.
Of particular concern are South Carolina’s rural roads. The traffic fatality rate on those roads in 2005 was the highest in the nation at 4.61 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the report says. The most dangerous local road on the list was a mile-long stretch of Harmon and Dreher streets in Lexington County – ranking 15th most dangerous and accounting for two deaths and eight injuries.
The S.C. Alliance to Fix Our Roads, which commissioned the report, is backing three bills, currently idling in the Legislature, that would provide more funding for highway improvements.
“We can’t have economic development until we get infrastructure issues, including transportation, straightened out in the rural areas,” said Ike McLeese, president of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.