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Washington, DC 20590
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FHWA Home / Safety / Roadway Departure Safety

Roadway Departure Safety

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Roadway Departure Safety Program provides important information for transportation practitioners, decision makers, and others to assist in preventing and reducing these severe crashes.

A roadway departure crash is defined as a crash which occurs after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way. FHWA uses the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to compute statistics on roadway departure crashes. Roadway Departure (RwD) crashes are frequently severe and account for the majority of highway fatalities. In 2015, there were 18,695 fatalities as a result of roadway departure crashes, which was 53.3 percent of all the traffic fatalities in the United States (FARS).

To effectively prevent RwD crashes and fatalities, FHWA's RwD efforts are guided by the RwD Strategic Approach & Plan that involves implementing countermeasures that address RwD crashes that fall into three main categories, including those that:

1) Keep Vehicles on Roadway,
2) Provide for Safe Recovery, and
3) Reduce Crash Severity.

Strategic Approach & Plan Keep Vehicles on Roadway Icon  Reduce Crash Severity Icon Icon: Provide for Safe Recovery Strategic Approach & Plan icon

Page last modified on February 16, 2017
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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000