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Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
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FHWA Home / Safety / Roadway Departure Safety

Roadway Departure Safety

FHWA defines a roadway departure (RwD) crash as a crash which occurs after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way. Another term our partners often use is lane departure, which is synonymous with RwD, since both include head-on collisions when a vehicle enters an opposing lane of traffic. From 2016 to 2018 an average of 19,158 fatalities resulted from roadway departures, which is 51 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States.

Use the links below to learn more about effectively reducing RwD fatalities and serious injuries.

What's New: Brochures for Rollover, tree and Utility Pole Crashes now available.

Synthesis of Practices

New! NCHRP Synthesis 515: Practices for Preventing Roadway Departures identifies and summarizes countermeasures being used by state departments of transportation to prevent RwD crashes and identifies the data-driven advantages and disadvantages of these countermeasures.

Page last modified on April 5, 2021
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000