Addressing Rural Roadway Departures on All Public Roads
If we are going to solve this problem, States must work with local agencies to reduce rural roadway departures (aka lane departures) on all roads.
Roadway ownership isn't always clear in the national crash data, so the pie chart below shows where these deaths occur based on functional classification. Ownership of roads varies throughout the country, but arterials are typically under the jurisdiction of State DOTs, while collectors and roads functionally classified as local are more likely to be under the jurisdiction of others. The chart clearly indicates lane departure crashes are a major problem on all types of public rural roads. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of traffic fatalities occur on locally-owned roads.
Rural Roadway Departure (RwD) crashes by the numbers
Rural RwD Deaths
All Roadways are Affected
Source: NHTSA FARS 2014-2016
Several States and LTAPs are assisting local agencies in their effort to reduce rural roadway departures. Some examples include:
- Splitting federal safety funds according to the percentage of fatalities on the State and local system.
- Summarizing data or providing crash analysis assistance.
- Assisting in development of local road safety plans.
- Providing project development assistance or project bundling for multiple local agencies.
Explore the Other Pillars of FoRRRwD
FoRRRwD is supported by four pillars that work together to reduce rural roadway departures on all roads. Click a pillar below to learn more.
Roadway departure crashes are a major problem on all public rural roads. More than 40 percent of them happen off State networks.
There are many flexible cost-effective countermeasures that are proven to reduce these crashes.
A fundamental challenge on rural roads is that roadway departure crash locations are random and change from year to year.
Documenting the systemic analysis into a simple safety action plan is a powerful way to prioritize safety improvements.