The problem is likely to get worse. Truck traffic in the state is expected to increase 50 percent in the next five to 10 years on roads that already are at capacity, according to a State Transport Police report.
According to an analysis of fatal crashes by The (Columbia) State newspaper, car drivers were blamed for 76 percent of the fatal crashes. In nonfatal crashes, the paper reported, truck drivers were to blame 54 percent of the time.
"People simply don't know how to drive in and around the trucks," said Patricia Waller, a senior researcher and former director of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.
One state representative has proposed a bill that would lower the speed limit for trucks on the state's highways. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Becky Martin, whose district includes parts of Interstate 85, has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Public Works. (See "S.C. Rep. Wants Truck Speed Limit Lowered to 65," 9/4/2000.)