Container Traffic Poses Safety Issues for Drivers

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It is well documented that Charleston and her port terminals handle tremendous amounts of freight. From giant turbines to military vehicles to enormous steel girders, the variety and scope of what comes through is fascinating. For all the interesting goods that pass through our ports, however, it is the plain and nondescript box container that dominates the scene.

According to personnel at the State Ports Authority offices, in 2011, Charleston sent and received over 1.38 million containers. That's over 26,000 containers traveling in and out of our port every week, or nearly 3800 per day. Less than 10 percent travel by rail, placing an enormous volume of containers on our roads every day – and that's just for the Port of Charleston. Regular drivers increasingly share the road with the 18-wheelers that haul the containers to and from our ports. Almost all of them travel on our Interstate Highway system. When you add in all of the other big trucks coming in and out of the terminals for different businesses and operations, Charleston's roadways are being squeezed, and so are our drivers.

The potential danger that comes with the heavy loads and traffic associated with these large trucks cannot be ignored. Their sheer size and weight make them a potential hazard to any regular-sized vehicle on the road, and tight schedules often lead to dangerously high speeds. And unfortunately, many are owned by independent operators who are left to keep up with the maintenance. With the economy squeezing everyone, maintenance on these vehicles may take a lower priority. As speed increases and maintenance declines, the potential for accidents – and harm to innocent drivers – increases. Our local roads are saturated with this heavy parade of aged artillery, so to speak. Drivers are well-advised to give trucks a wide berth and be aware of the potential dangers, so you don't become the victim of an ageing, speeding behemoth.

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