Roadway Departure Safety
The FHWA's Roadway Departure Safety Program provides important information for transportation practitioners, decision makers, and others to assist them in preventing and reducing the severity of roadway departure crashes.
Roadway departure crashes are frequently severe and account for the majority of highway fatalities. In 2011, there were 15,307 fatal roadway departure crashes resulting in 16,948 fatalities, which was 51 percent of the fatal crashes in the United States. A roadway departure crash is defined as a non-intersection crash which occurs after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way. FHWA uses the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to compute statistics on roadway departure crashes. http://www.nhtsa.gov/FARS.
FHWA Roadway Departure Strategic Plan NEW!
The FHWA Roadway Departure Team has developed a Strategic Plan to provide a data-driven focus with a vision to "Pursue a proactive approach Towards Zero Deaths and serious injuries involving roadway departure events."
Here’s where to find technical guidance and tools for practitioners.
Click here to find more information about FHWA Policies and Procedures that relate to Roadway Safety, including information about the FHWA’s roadside hardware crashworthiness policy. FHWA policy requires the roadside hardware used on the National Highway System (NHS) to be performance-tested for crashworthiness. While FHWA oversight is limited to the NHS, the FHWA strongly recommends the use of crashworthy devices on all public facilities where run-off-the-road crashes may occur. This link will also bring you to Frequently Asked Questions on roadside barriers and crashworthy work zone traffic control devices.
Click here for links to research organizations that are currently conducting research on Roadway Departure Safety topics. Continued research is needed to find more effective techniques for improving road safety, and to assist decisionmakers in implementing the most cost-effective roadway departure crash countermeasures.
By focusing on reducing the number and severity of roadway departure crashes, we can significantly reduce highway deaths and injures. The FHWA supports the five strategies in AASHTO’s Strategic Plan for Improving Roadside Safety
Roadside Design: Steel Strong Post W-beam. A guidance memo was issued on May 17, 2010 on the height of guardrail for new installations. Guidance regarding existing guardrail will be developed in the next several months, in consultation with AASHTO’s Technical Committee on Roadside Safety.