New Guide Offers 'How To' Advice for Making Highways and Bridges Safer

The Roadway Safety Foundation Aims to Reduce the Over

15,000 U.S. Deaths Annually Attributable to Bad Roads



Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Roadway Safety Foundation

    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Safety
 experts agree that poor road conditions and obsolete designs contribute to
 more than 15,000 highway deaths annually -- nearly a third of all fatal
 crashes, according to the Roadway Safety Foundation, a nonprofit educational
 organization.  And unlike other areas of highway safety -- such as driver
 behavior and vehicle design -- where significant gains have been made, RSF
 reports that fatalities related to roadside hazards and run-off-the-road
 crashes are up 9 percent since 1975.
     To combat this alarming trend, RSF -- in partnership with the U.S.
 Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration -- is unveiling
 a new Roadway Safety Guide designed to provide local elected officials and
 other community leaders with basic information to improve roadway safety in
 their community.  Written for non-engineers, the guide is a hands-on, easy-to-
 use introduction to both common roadway hazards and the often simple, cost-
 effective steps that communities can take to make their highways and bridges
 safer.  The RSF guide is available on-line at http://www.roadwaysafety.org .
     "All of us want safer roads," remarked Tom Chaffin, vice president of 3M's
 Traffic Control Materials Division and chairman of RSF's Board of Trustees.
 "But community leaders and concerned motorists may not be entirely certain
 what kind of highway problems they are confronting, what can reasonably be
 done about them, whose job it is to fix these hazards, and how to pay for
 needed safety improvements.  This guide is designed to help answer those
 questions."
     The RSF guide urges community leaders to focus on reducing deaths related
 to run-off-the-road crashes.  According to the U.S. Department of
 Transportation, more than 12,000 people die each year in collisions with
 roadside hazards such as trees, utility poles, and embankments, and almost
 another 3,500 die in rollover crashes, usually related to veering off the
 roadway.  These types of crashes often occur on roads that were built decades
 ago and are now carrying two and three times the traffic volume for which they
 were designed.
     Specifically, the guide lists a number of potentially hazardous conditions
 that can lead to roadway departure crashes, including: narrow roads and
 bridges, roadside hazards that are either too close to the roadway or not
 protected by guardrails, narrow shoulders that end in steep slopes or ditches,
 and intersections that are poorly marked and lighted.
     "The key to reducing roadway related fatalities is doing everything
 possible to keep drivers on the road and then protecting them if they do leave
 the road," said Michael J. McCabe, senior vice president and general counsel
 for Allstate Insurance Company.  "While there's no 'silver bullet' for
 improving roadway safety, there are a number of options communities should
 consider."  Some of the highway fixes proposed by the RSF guide include:
 
     *  Rumble Strips - Upgrading roadside shoulders with this low-cost feature
        can reduce run-off-the-road crashes by 60%.
     *  Intersection Improvements - Creating turn lanes and improving traffic
        channelization at dangerous intersections can reduce fatality rates by
        47%.
     *  Clearer Information - Keeping motorists better informed with clear,
        easy-to-read signs and pavement markings can reduce fatality rates by
        up to 39%.
     *  Traffic Separation - Constructing a median barrier can reduce fatality
        rates by 73%.
     *  Hazard Removal - Removing roadside obstacles and realigning roadways
        can reduce fatality rates by 66%.
     *  Wider Lanes - Widening lanes by a single foot can reduce crashes by 23%
        and widening them by two feet can result in crash reductions of 66%.
 
     Other features of the Roadway Safety Guide include a checklist for
 identifying road and bridge trouble spots, examples of successful
 countermeasures in use, tips on building needed community support for fixing
 local roadway problems, and helpful hints for working with highway engineers
 and other government agencies with jurisdiction over highways and bridges.
 
     The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose
 mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes by
 improving the safety of U.S. highways and bridges.  RSF is one of the few
 national organizations solely dedicated to reducing highway deaths and
 injuries by improving the physical characteristics of our roads.  RSF's
 programs are funded from annual contributions, grants, and other donations
 received from private- and public-sector organizations.  Research for and
 publication of the Roadway Safety Guide was made possible by a generous grant
 from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.
 
     The Roadway Safety Guide, along with other key facts and useful
 information on roadway safety, is available on-line at
 http://www.roadwaysafety.org .  Please bookmark this site for future
 reference.
 
     CONTACT:  Bill Buff of the Roadway Safety Foundation, 202-857-1239.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65051818
 
 

SOURCE Roadway Safety Foundation
    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Safety
 experts agree that poor road conditions and obsolete designs contribute to
 more than 15,000 highway deaths annually -- nearly a third of all fatal
 crashes, according to the Roadway Safety Foundation, a nonprofit educational
 organization.  And unlike other areas of highway safety -- such as driver
 behavior and vehicle design -- where significant gains have been made, RSF
 reports that fatalities related to roadside hazards and run-off-the-road
 crashes are up 9 percent since 1975.
     To combat this alarming trend, RSF -- in partnership with the U.S.
 Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration -- is unveiling
 a new Roadway Safety Guide designed to provide local elected officials and
 other community leaders with basic information to improve roadway safety in
 their community.  Written for non-engineers, the guide is a hands-on, easy-to-
 use introduction to both common roadway hazards and the often simple, cost-
 effective steps that communities can take to make their highways and bridges
 safer.  The RSF guide is available on-line at http://www.roadwaysafety.org .
     "All of us want safer roads," remarked Tom Chaffin, vice president of 3M's
 Traffic Control Materials Division and chairman of RSF's Board of Trustees.
 "But community leaders and concerned motorists may not be entirely certain
 what kind of highway problems they are confronting, what can reasonably be
 done about them, whose job it is to fix these hazards, and how to pay for
 needed safety improvements.  This guide is designed to help answer those
 questions."
     The RSF guide urges community leaders to focus on reducing deaths related
 to run-off-the-road crashes.  According to the U.S. Department of
 Transportation, more than 12,000 people die each year in collisions with
 roadside hazards such as trees, utility poles, and embankments, and almost
 another 3,500 die in rollover crashes, usually related to veering off the
 roadway.  These types of crashes often occur on roads that were built decades
 ago and are now carrying two and three times the traffic volume for which they
 were designed.
     Specifically, the guide lists a number of potentially hazardous conditions
 that can lead to roadway departure crashes, including: narrow roads and
 bridges, roadside hazards that are either too close to the roadway or not
 protected by guardrails, narrow shoulders that end in steep slopes or ditches,
 and intersections that are poorly marked and lighted.
     "The key to reducing roadway related fatalities is doing everything
 possible to keep drivers on the road and then protecting them if they do leave
 the road," said Michael J. McCabe, senior vice president and general counsel
 for Allstate Insurance Company.  "While there's no 'silver bullet' for
 improving roadway safety, there are a number of options communities should
 consider."  Some of the highway fixes proposed by the RSF guide include:
 
     *  Rumble Strips - Upgrading roadside shoulders with this low-cost feature
        can reduce run-off-the-road crashes by 60%.
     *  Intersection Improvements - Creating turn lanes and improving traffic
        channelization at dangerous intersections can reduce fatality rates by
        47%.
     *  Clearer Information - Keeping motorists better informed with clear,
        easy-to-read signs and pavement markings can reduce fatality rates by
        up to 39%.
     *  Traffic Separation - Constructing a median barrier can reduce fatality
        rates by 73%.
     *  Hazard Removal - Removing roadside obstacles and realigning roadways
        can reduce fatality rates by 66%.
     *  Wider Lanes - Widening lanes by a single foot can reduce crashes by 23%
        and widening them by two feet can result in crash reductions of 66%.
 
     Other features of the Roadway Safety Guide include a checklist for
 identifying road and bridge trouble spots, examples of successful
 countermeasures in use, tips on building needed community support for fixing
 local roadway problems, and helpful hints for working with highway engineers
 and other government agencies with jurisdiction over highways and bridges.
 
     The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose
 mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes by
 improving the safety of U.S. highways and bridges.  RSF is one of the few
 national organizations solely dedicated to reducing highway deaths and
 injuries by improving the physical characteristics of our roads.  RSF's
 programs are funded from annual contributions, grants, and other donations
 received from private- and public-sector organizations.  Research for and
 publication of the Roadway Safety Guide was made possible by a generous grant
 from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.
 
     The Roadway Safety Guide, along with other key facts and useful
 information on roadway safety, is available on-line at
 http://www.roadwaysafety.org .  Please bookmark this site for future
 reference.
 
     CONTACT:  Bill Buff of the Roadway Safety Foundation, 202-857-1239.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65051818
 
 SOURCE  Roadway Safety Foundation