South Carolina commits to roadway safety improvement

Posted in: Bridges, Highways

Intersection-body_300x225A recent statistic states that 806 South Carolinians died in vehicle accidents in the past year. While this is nearly a 25 percent reduction since 2007, it is still too high. To combat these tragedies, South Carolina implemented the Target Zero Pledge. The Strategic Highway Safety Plan aims to build a framework combining safety, education and infrastructure to improve traffic safety.

What is unique is that this pledge doesn’t focus solely on driver accountability, like driving sober and distracted-free driving campaigns. It also holds the state accountable for road and highway conditions. Part of the state’s strategy includes improving the roadways’ infrastructure using engineering safety measures such as providing proper clear zones and improving median cross-slopes and barriers.

South Carolina isn’t the only state to make this type of commitment to roadway safety. Since 2012, Mead & Hunt has served on the Ohio Department of Transportation Statewide Safety Design contract. Similar to South Carolina’s plan to upgrade infrastructure to maximize safety, ODOT is working systematically through districts across the state to upgrade high-crash roadways and intersections. More than $100 million is allocated to transportation safety funds, doubling what Ohio receives in federal funding.

These statewide commitments to safety have proven benefits. As of 2013, Ohio saw a 30 percent decrease in vehicle fatalities, earning them the 2013 Safety Leadership Award by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

While all states and even the federal government have high-profile campaigns to end drunk and distracted driving, I am excited to see more governments make similar pledges to their citizens to improve deficient roadways that contribute to unsafe conditions. When setting a target goal for fatalities, ask yourself, “what is an acceptable goal for my family?”

Mike Ciotola, PE

About the Author

Mike Ciotola, P.E., ASSOC. DBIA, makes sure safety is woven into complex transportation projects. In his more than 25 years of experience, Mike spent 13 years with the Ohio Department of Transportation. He gets the project done, whatever it takes. Mike helps clients design interchange modifications, roundabouts, and other roadway and bridge improvements, including work on multiple Safety Design Task Order contracts. Mike says “Safety is always integral to projects. We improve the quality of people’s lives by helping our clients to design safe roads.”

Read more posts by Mike Ciotola, PE

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