Before we get into why this tax is actually a good thing (even though we may lose some “cool points” for saying so) let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what the new Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act means for your wallet.
•The gas tax increase will be two cents every year, through the year 2022. This will move the tax from 16.75 cents per gallon to 28.75 cents per gallon.
•Your car registration fee (mandatory every two years) will increase by $16. Residents new to the state will pay a $250 fee.
•New-car sales tax cap has increased from $300 to $600.
•Owners of hybrid cars will pay a fee of $60 every two years, and those driving alternative-fuel vehicles will pay a $120 fee.
All of this is designed to give the state of South Carolina about $600 million dollars a year to increase funding to repair our roads. The Department of Transportation intends to widen highways, improve dangerous roads, and repair “substandard” bridges.
I don’t know about you but, doesn’t the idea of driving over a “substandard bridge” with your family strapped into the back seat sound a little precarious to you?
Which get’s us to our main point. Yes, we understand the grumbles that come from paying more for day-to-day necessities and the parts of “adulting” that make us all want to roll our eyes. At the same time, the much bigger issue is the dramatic need to make things safer for ALL of us. Regardless if you drive on rural roads alone at night, or on any of the crowded 932 miles of interstate highway weaving through our cities, safer roads are better for EVERYONE. Here is why.
As a car accident lawyer in South Carolina, we have seen it all.
According to the Washington Post, bad highway design and road conditions are the cause of over half the fatal car accidents in our country each year. You probably think the biggest danger to you behind the wheel is a drunk or distracted driver; those are pretty big risks, we agree. But what about…
•Cracks and potholes that cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle,
•Missing or inadequate guardrails that don’t keep you safe when driving curved roads or overpasses,
•Faded painted lane dividers and road markings, and even
While these risks feel “unglamorous”, they are very, very real. And, in a state where 44 percent of major roads are in “poor or mediocre” conditions, and 10 percent of bridges have been deemed “structurally deficient” this should be enough of a risk to make any of us sit up and take note.
Remember what your mother used to say? (Well, ours did, at least…) It’s not always YOU to be worried about on the road, but the other drivers! Bad road conditions shouldn’t just worry you because they are a danger to you, but also because they are a danger to other drivers. And when another driver encounters a dangerous situation, there’s a pretty good chance that their accident will impact you.
If you are the victim of a car accident that you believe was caused by poor road conditions, the biggest hurdle you’re going to have is proving that the road itself (and not driver error) is the reason the accident occurred. You also have to show that the entity responsible for maintaining the road (usually the city, county, or state) was faulty in doing their job; that they were negligent in keeping the roads safe for people. Last, but not least, you have to show that this same entity CAN be sued in a court of law. Sound confusing? We agree. It is kind of nasty.
Car accident cases can be long and tedious and a total disruption to your family life. Not to mention that accidents themselves can do you great harm, cost you lost wages, or, at worse, be fatal for someone you love! We work with people every day, just like you, whose lives have been turned upside down because of a car accident.
You might think a firm full of car crash attorneys would be happy to deal with “bad road” cases, right? Wrong. Because, more than anything else, we are your neighbors. We are the people you pass at church or shopping at the Tanger Outlets, or the parents whose kids play basketball on the same team as your son or daughter.
Safe driving for us means safe driving for YOU. Safe roads for you means safe roads for us. Which means more chances that our kids, friends, and loved ones get home at night without a nick or a scrape on them.
So if it costs us more to fill up our tank every week, we’re ok with that personally. And we think you should be too. There are times in life, and this is one, when keeping people safe has to be our number one goal! And honestly, isn’t the best kind of attorney the one you never need? We think so.
So we’ll grumble right alongside you. When we register our car, we’ll notice the small dent in our wallet. But we’re ok with that. Because this is about ALL of us, and supporting the initiatives it takes to keep us all safe on the roads every day.