Moving FoRRRwD: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures
1 Oct 2020
Each year in the United States, nearly 12,000 people die in roadway departure crashes on rural roads. That is more than 30 people today, and every day.
It is easy to overlook how serious a problem this is because those deadly crashes happen in scattered locations across vast rural roadway networks. Rural roadway departure crashes (also called lane departures) do not cause massive traffic jams. There are no multicar pileups that make the news. They happen one here, one there, like a dripping faucet. Combined, however, those far-flung crashes account for roughly 30 percent of the Nation's annual roadway deaths. It is truly a national problem.
Is there a way to save the people behind those numbers? Can agencies, with increasingly limited resources, hope to reduce rural roadway departures on their systems? The answer to both questions is yes, but it is a formidable challenge.