As highways flood with travelers returning home from Thanksgiving holidays, the latest report from the nonprofit think tank Reason Foundation reminds drivers to take it easy: South Carolina highways have the highest overall fatality rate in the country, despite having the sixth most cost-effective road network.
Ranking 47th, the Palmetto State also claims one of the highest rural fatality rates, according to the think tanks’ Annual Highway Report.
The report also says South Carolina is 31st place in terms of having structurally deficient bridges, 20th in urban interstate pavement condition, 15th in the nation for traffic congestion and 14th for rural interstate pavement condition.
Despite these results, South Carolina has historically ranked in as having one of the best overall highway systems and in the latest report, improved from 2019’s 20th overall position by 14 points due to rural interstate pavement and arterial pavement improvements, according to a news release. The Palmetto State is also the fifth best state in terms of overall highway performance.
South Carolina’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the fifth largest highway system in the country, according to a news release. The state is third highest spender per mile and the fifth highest spender in terms of capital bridge costs per mile.
“To further improve in the rankings, South Carolina needs to reduce its fatality rates,” Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, said in the release. “South Carolina is last in overall fatality and in the bottom 10 for urban and rural fatality. Compared to nearby states, the report finds South Carolina’s overall highway performance is better than Georgia (ranks 26th), Tennessee (ranks 7th), and North Carolina (ranks 14th) and just behind Kentucky (ranks 4th).”
The Reason Foundation’s 25th Annual Highway Report takes into consideration the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, according to the release. Spending and performance data used by the report was submitted to the federal government for 2018 by state highway agencies and also included urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2019.o