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FHWA Home / Safety / Roadway Departure / Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plans Flyer

Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plans

Kentucky Implements Roadway Departure Safety Plan with Rumble Stripes and Friction Treatments

March 2011

FHWA-SA-11-20


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Roadway departure crashes account for the majority of highway fatalities 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.

The Problem in Kentucky

In Kentucky, roadway departure crashes account for more than 60 percent of all traffic-related deaths. Roadway departure crashes resulted in an average of 628 fatalities annually from 2005 to 2009.

Photo of a roadway hugging a cliff.
Kentucky's roadways include horizontal and vertical curves and varying shoulder widths.

Customized Solution

FHWA first provided a technical training session to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and other traffic safety stakeholders. The training included a discussion of recommended roadway departure countermeasures.

The second event was an Implementation Plan Workshop tailored to the roadway departure safety needs of Kentucky. FHWA developed a customized data analysis package and identified a set of costeffective countermeasures, deployment levels, and funding needed to achieve a 15 percent reduction in roadway departure fatalities. When implemented, this will help Kentucky save up to 65 lives per year.

The Implementation Plan developed for KYTC included traditional treatments at high crash locations, systematic treatments on corridors with a moderate level of crashes, and comprehensive safety solutions incorporating law enforcement and education to reduce the number and severity of roadway departure crashes.

Kentucky Roadway Departure Fatalities
Graph indicates that roadway departure fatalities have decreased steadily from 700 in 2005, to 646 in 2006, to 618 in 2007, to 603 in 2008, to 575 in 2009.
Source: Kentucky Strategic Highway Safety Plan

Kentucky's Key First Steps

Kentucky used the customized Implementation Plan and local knowledge of safety problems and effective countermeasures to begin implementing solutions to reduce roadway departure crashes.

Center Line Rumble Strips – Retrofit

Approximately 38 miles of center line rumble strips have been installed on existing two-lane roads with 11 ft. or wider lanes. KYTC plans to install more than 100 additional miles of retrofit center line rumble strips in 2011.

KYTC is installing hundreds of miles of rumble strips/stripes in conjunction with its pavement resurfacing program.
Photo of a rural two-lane roadway featuring center line rumble strips and rumble stripes on the white edge markings.

Rumble Strips/Stripes on Resurfacing Projects

Kentucky has incorporated rumble strips and rumble stripes into its pavement resurfacing projects, including:

Kentucky is taking advantage of the low cost of rumble strips, especially as add-ons to existing surface overlay projects. Costs to date have been much lower than originally estimated, allowing KYTC to plan for more than 200 additional miles of rumble strips and rumble stripes on resurfacing projects in 2011.

KYTC installed high friction surface treatments at locations with a history of wet roadway departure crashes.
Photo of a two-lane rural roadway with a high friction surface treatment.

High Friction Surface Treatments

Increasing friction on roadways with a history of wet weather crashes has been proven to yield significant safety benefits. Kentucky has selected 32 sites to apply high friction surface treatments.

For More Information

Jarrod Stanley
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
(502) 564-4556 | jarrod.stanley@ky.gov

Tracy Lovell
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
(502) 564-3020 | tracy.lovell@ky.gov

Joe Cheung
Horizontal Curve Safety
FHWA Office of Safety
(202) 366-6994 | joe.cheung@dot.gov

Page last modified on May 23, 2016
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