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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

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.

What's New:

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

Strategic Approach


Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Every year nearly 12,000 people die when their vehicle leaves its lane on a rural road. This EDC initiative is supported by four pillars:

Synthesis of Practices

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.