Bad Roads are Dangerous
Mississippi has approximately 2,300 state and local bridges that are restricted from carrying the legal weight limit for which they were designed. This means emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances could add precious minutes to their response time in an emergency by having to take an alternate route. If your house is on fire or someone has a medical emergency, that extra time could prove very costly. 2,300 bridges is too many for Mississippi. That’s an average of 28 broken bridges per county. That’s a lot of bridges.
Potholes, bumps, dips, cracks, soil erosion, broken guard rails and obscured road signs can all contribute to serious car damage and even death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), poor road conditions contribute to more than one-third of highway fatalities and cost billions annually. Likewise, TRIP, a Washington, DC based transportation organization, estimates that physical condition of the roadways as well as roadway geometry and design and the absence of safety features such as wider shoulders, rumble strips, etc. are a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
Traffic crashes in Mississippi claimed the lives of 3,073 people between 2010 and 2014. Mississippi’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.54 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.08. Mississippi’s overall traffic fatality rate is the fourth highest in the nation. The state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly four and a half times higher than the rate on all other roads in the state (2.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel versus 0.58).