The Greenville News recently reported on the conditions of South Carolina roadways and aptly determined those deteriorating and substandard conditions present "excessive safety problems." The reported 41,000 miles of roadways covered by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) were recently graded an "F" by their own highway engineers.
It would appear given the media coverage and the SCDOT’s own admissions of the substandard conditions of the roadways the problems are no hidden secret. However, from a legal perspective, anyone using those roadways and injured as a result of their deteriorating conditions must first look over the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, S.C. Code Ann. 15-78-10, before proceeding.
Confusing? Wait, it gets better. Please read SCDOT’s Mission taken straight from their website:
Pursuant to SC Code Section 57-3-10, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is charged with the responsibility of the systematic planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of the state highway system and coordinating mass transit services. SCDOT operates and maintains 41,459 miles of roads and bridges, which ranks as the fourth largest state-owned highway system in the nation according to the Federal Highway Administration. The agency emphasizes the importance of safety, environmental stewardship, and system maintenance and preservation through its “Fix It First” strategy. (emphasis added).
The SCDOT provides a brief "Snapshot" of their organization:
• 4th largest state-maintained highway system in the Nation
• 41,459 miles, including 8,344 bridges
• 4,985 permanent employees
• $1.05 billion budget from state & federal sources
The best thing you can do for you and your fellow travelers on South Carolina roadways is to be vigilant about any roadway, shoulder, ditch, bridge, and secondary road issues you notice by mailing a certified letter , or traceable mailer, to the SCDOT. That helps in two ways:
- It provides the SCDOT with volunteer assistance without raising taxes; &
- It puts them on notice of dangerous conditions in that area that need to be remedied.
I would be happy to compile those notices if you want to email them or post them as a comment on this article.
Plus in the interest of objectivity in my "reporting", that notice also helps others if they are injured by that same problem clear the hurdles in navigating justice through the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.