Thursday the top leader at the SCDOT rolled out her plan to make roads safer.
Secretary Christy Hall told DOT Commissioners South Carolina has the deadliest roads by far compared to any other state. The state ranks 53% above the national average of road related deaths.
“Looking around the ballgame and realize the breadth of the problem we are dealing with here,” Secretary Hall told Commissioners as she shared newly compiled data with them.
According to her latest report, enough people have died on South Carolina roads in the last five years to fill the USC baseball stadium to its seating capacity.
She says her top priority is reducing deaths on rural roads, but doing so will cost in the ballpark of $50 million per year.
A rural road, according to Secretary Hall, is any road that isn’t inside an urban area. Those roads would include both interstates and major highways.
“South Carolina has the deadliest roads in the nation. Nearly 30% of our rural fatal and serious injury crashes take place on just 5% of our highway system outside of our urban areas.” Hall noted that “Our Interstate highways and US primary routes in our rural areas are the deadliest roads in the state.”
Nearly half of all deaths happen when a driver runs off the road.
Secretary Hall’s plan to stop the numbers from climbing includes installing rumble strips, better signage, guardrails. She also said drivers need better opportunities to correct when they go off the road. She recommends steps like widening and paving shoulders and moving ditches.
Secretary Hall says she plans on presenting her findings to the SC Legislature in hopes of securing additional funding. Any money the DOT secures from the federal government should also be funneled to this new initiative, she told Commissioners.