BENEFITS OF HIGHWAY SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS IN CALIFORNIA

This article discusses the effect of a program of highway safety improvements on the fatality rate. Two major occurrences in the 1960's affected highway safety and both had an impact on the fatality rate. The first was the safe roadside concept, the second was the Highway Safety Act of 1966. In 1966 California undertook to incorporate the safe roadside concept in new freeway design and in existing freeways, by a retrofit program called CURE (Clean Up Roadside Environment). Under this program a review was made of the freeway run-off-the-road accidents to identify the type of fixed objects most often involved in fatal and injury accidents and then corrective work was accomplished on the freeway system. Between 1966 and 1973, the overall reduction in the fatality rates was a direct result of the CURE program and the safe roadside concept in the design of all new freeways. The additional drop in fatality rate in 1974 was primarily a result of the 55 mph speed limit. Further attention, it is noted, should be given to ramp metering, pedestrian fatalities, reducing wrong-way driving, and spot improvement programs. From a comparison of fatality rates on California freeways and two-lane state, highways, it is evident that a strong correlation exists between the roadway environment and accidents. Head-on and intersection accidents on two-lane roads are substantially reduced by the concept of the divided highway with access control. Research is now underway to identify cost-effective approaches to a roadside obstacle program for conventional highways.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Transportation Engineers

    1627 Eye Street, NW, Suite 600
    Washington, DC  USA  20006
  • Authors:
    • Henry, D H
  • Publication Date: 1978-3

Media Info

  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: p. 21-25
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00176772
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 14 1978 12:00AM