The Federal Highway Administration has strongly recommended nine tools for decreasing road fatalities. You can find them at the end of this article. Most of these tools are fairly basic and simple to implement. So why aren’t they already universally used?
They’re not universally used because they don’t make money for anyone.
The government (local, regional, and national) has become more and more greedy. Instead of federal grant money going to the programs below, it goes to holiday ticketing binges, congestion charging, toll roads, red-light cameras and speed cameras — none of which have shown any positive impact on key traffic safety metrics.
These kind of enforcement and fee-based programs do make plenty of money though. Unfortunately, they do it by picking the pockets of motorists.
They get away with this blatant money grab by using powerful public relations tactics — and the implicit trust that many citizens still have in government organizations — to convince the average driver that it’s for their own good.
FHWA’s Nine Tools for Decreasing Road Fatalities
1) Roadway Safety Audits
State DOTs should formalize the use of these audits, which are comprehensive evaluations of existing or planned roads or intersections to identify potential safety improvements.
2) Rumble Strips and Rumble Stripes
Used in centerline and shoulders, these cost-effective devices have shown demonstrable improvement in warning drivers of lane departure, reducing by 14 percent head-on collisions and opposite-direction sideswipe crashes. Shoulder rumble strips and stripes have shown a 38 percent reduction in run-off-road crashes on freeways, and between 13-18 percent on rural roads.
3) Median Barriers
Used to separate opposing traffic on divided highways, these barriers have a long track record of reducing cross-median collisions. States are encouraged to consider using cable median barriers where appropriate to further heighten roadway safety.
4) Safety Edge
This paving technique, giving a 30 to 35 degree slope to the road’s edge, reduces the risk to drivers if their tire inadvertently falls over an otherwise near-vertical road-edge leading to loss of vehicle control and rollover crashes. Safety Edge makes such notoriously severe crashes far less likely.
Roundabouts have demonstrated a 60 to 87 percent reduction in crashes.
6) Turning Lanes at Stop-Controlled Intersections
At intersections with significant turning volume, turning lanes for right and left turns on major road approaches can dramatically reduce crashes — in some cases, by as much as 55 percent.
7) Yellow Change Intervals
Red-light running crashes at intersections, which too frequently result in fatalities, can be reduced by properly setting yellow-light signals. Studies show a one-second increase in the yellow signal interval can reduce red-light violations by as much as 50 percent.
8) Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas in Urban and Suburban Areas
Raised medians or pedestrian refuge areas at pedestrian crossings at marked crosswalks have shown a 46 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes. FHWA recommends that medians be between 4 and 8 feet wide to improve pedestrian safety.
Ensuring a sidewalk or pathway exists near a roadway can reduce pedestrian crashes by as much 88 percent. FHWA recommends a pathway of at least 4 feet wide of stabilized or paved surface in areas routinely used by pedestrians.