New Focus for Highway Safety

This article describes the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new performance-based, results-oriented approach to safety. The FHWA will focus attention and resources on those areas where the data indicate the problem is the greatest. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has established safety as its top priority and has set an aggressive goal to reduce the national highway fatality rate from 1.5 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.0 by 2008. The FHWA Office of Safety's new approach is designed to help the Nation meet that goal and essentially redefines FHWA's safety program. The new approach includes applying lessons learned from states and localities that are already improving safety. The author outlines some of these programs and explains the additional safety funding and resources being given to the 16 states with the greatest opportunity to contribute to reducing the national highway fatality toll. The author also discusses potential measures being taken include shoulder and centerline rumble strips; rumble stripes, which are rumble strips that are painted for better nighttime and wet weather visibility; the safety edge, a device that provides a sloped edge on new pavements; pavement shoulders; improved signing and markings; and speed management. Another important focus is local safety, particularly in rural areas. The author concludes that FHWA's new safety focus is a significant change in the way the agency addresses safety issues and deploys resources. The safety focus will be a multiyear effort that gains momentum as early successes in reducing roadway crashes, injuries, and fatalities in individual states encourage highway agencies across the country to adapt how they approach safety and leverage their resources. Readers are referred to the FHWA safety website ( for more information.


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  • Accession Number: 01001080
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 22 2005 6:30AM