About Intersection Safety
Intersecting roadways are necessary to connect people driving, walking and bicycling from one route to another. However, where roads intersect and paths cross, the resulting conflict points create circumstances where crashes can occur. In fact, each year roughly one–quarter of traffic fatalities and about one–half of all traffic injuries in the United States are attributed to intersections. That is why intersections are a national, state and local road safety priority, and a program focus area for FHWA.
FHWA is committed to the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our Nation's roadways. Making intersections safer is a critical and essential step toward realizing that vision.
This page presents annual statistics for intersection related traffic fatalities. This data is extracted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis and Reporting System (FARS). To explore this data further, access the FARS Query Tool. The FHWA Safety Program includes crashes where any one of the following are cited in the FARS crash record:
- Driveway access
- Driveway access–related
Improving Intersections for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
When designed with pedestrians and bicyclists explicitly in mind, all types of intersections can facilitate safe, accessible, convenient, and comfortable walking and bicycling. The purpose of this guide is to inform the state of the practice concerning intersection planning and design to implement solutions that help achieve the goal for zero fatalities and serious injuries while also making roads better places for walking and bicycling. The following material serves as a supplement to FHWA's series of intersection informational guides and makes direct connections to other FHWA bikeway and pedestrian facility selection guides.
- Improving Intersections for Pedestrians and Bicyclists Informational Guide
- Intersection Type One Page Fact Sheets
Unsignalized Intersection Crashes
Unsignalized intersections are the most common type of intersection in the United States and can be:
- Stop sign–controlled – at least one approach to the intersection is controlled by a stop sign.
- Yield sign–controlled – at least one approach to the intersection is controlled by a yield sign.
- Uncontrolled – none of the approaches to the intersection are controlled by a regulatory sign or traffic signal; typically found on very low–volume roads in rural or residential areas.
Fatalities at Unsignalized Intersections
Signalized Intersection Crashes
Traffic signals are often chosen for operational reasons, and may involve trade–offs between safety and mobility. Signalized intersections represent about one–third of all intersection fatalities, including a large proportion that involve red–light running.
Fatalities at Signalized Intersections
|Total Traffic Fatalities
|Total Traffic Fatalities Involving an Intersection
|Total Traffic Fatalities Involving a Signalized Intersection
|Total Traffic Fatalities Involving Red-Light Running at a Signalized Intersection
|Pedestrian Fatalities Involving a Signalized Intersection
|Bicyclist Fatalities Involving a Signalized Intersection
|Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities Involving Red-Light Running at a Signalized Intersection
Wrong–Way Driving Crashes
A wrong–way driving crash is defined as one in which a vehicle traveling in a direction
opposing the legal flow of traffic on a high–speed divided highway or access ramp collides with a vehicle traveling on the same roadway in the proper direction. This definition is typically limited to controlled–access highways and associated ramps, but excludes crashes that result from median crossover encroachments. Wrong–way driving crashes involve high–speed head–on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes, which tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.
Wrong-Way Driving Fatalities
While wrong–way driving, as defined here, is not "intersection–related" in terms of where the crash occurs, it is appropriate to consider it under the umbrella of intersection safety because it originates with an improper maneuver at an intersection. However, the fatalities attributed to wrong–way driving are calculated separately from those for intersections.
- Countermeasures for Wrong–Way Driving on Freeways – Project Summary Report
- Guidelines for Reducing Wrong–Way Crashes on Freeways
- Assessment of the Effectiveness of Wrong–Way Driving Countermeasures and Mitigation Methods
- Wrong–Way Driving – Road Safety Audit Prompt List
- Wrong–Way Driving Special Investigation Report