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Highway improvements reduce injuries and deaths – April 20, 2011

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, recent improvements they have made to Missouri’s highway and roadways have decreased lane departure accidents by 40 percent.  Accidents where motorists leave their driving lane and run off the road are the second highest cause of deaths on Missouri highways, second only to people not wearing seatbelts.  Lane departure is the leading cause of roadway injuries.  The leading cause of deaths on Missouri highways is due to motorists not wearing their seat belts.

Amendment 3, passed in November of 2004 created additional funds to improve Missouri Roads. As part of that initiative, MoDOT started implementing rumble strips as part of a new pavement marking system on 2,200 miles of interstates and major highways.  The system was designed to help visibility during all conditions, but particularly at night and during rain.  The system combines Rumble Strips, painted edgelines and painted or taped centerlines. By emitting a loud rumbling noise, rumble strips help to notify the driver that they are straying from their lane in order to make a safe recovery.

The results of the initiative are paying off.

Lane departure fatalities have fallen by 40% since 2005, down from 400 in 2005 to below 250 last year.  However, even with the improvements, there were 818 deaths on Missouri’s highways last year and almost 6000 serious injuries.  It is important to note that the rumble strips have only been applied to a few thousand miles and Missouri has over 33,000 miles in it’s highway system. This gives great hope that the implementation of MoDOT’s lane marking system statewide will continue to dramatically reduce deaths and disabling injuries in coming years.

MoDOT is also testing the use of Rumble Strips in the center lane of two-lane highways with a test project currently on Highway 21 in Jefferson County. If successful, the department is considering expanding their use on two-lane highways statewide.

 

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