Every 16 minutes, someone is killed on America’s highways. In 2009, there were a total of 33,808 fatalities, down from 37,423 in 2008. While this decline is an improvement, even one traffic death or injury is one too many.
Deficiencies in the roadway environment contribute to roughly one-third of traffic deaths. Because we can and we must make our highways safer, DOT’s Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation have teamed up to award agencies across the country who demonstrate excellence in roadway design, operations, and planning that leads to improved safety.
Last month, Deputy Secretary John Porcari recognized nine exemplary highway projects and programs as winners of these biennial National Roadway Safety Awards, and he noted two honorable mentions. It was a great opportunity to show our appreciation to those who work each and every day to make our nation’s roadways safer.
This year’s honorees include:
- Minnesota DOT’s Micro Surfacing to Reduce Wet Weather Crash Rates Program
- Mississippi DOT’s Cable Median Barrier Safety Initiative
- Jones/Linn County (Iowa) Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Overlay With Safety EdgeSM
- Florida DOT’s Making Roadways Safer for Motorcycles Program
- Utah DOT’s Evaluation of Moveable Barriers in Construction Work Zones Program
- Travelers Marketing’s Safety Patrol Sponsor-Partnership (Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York and Kansas)
- California DOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program Application and Evaluation Tool for Local Roadways
- New Mexico Department of Public Safety’s Smart Roadside Inspection Program
- Minnesota DOT’s County Roads Safety Plans Program/Wright County’s (Minnesota) Roadway Safety Program (joint award).
There were two honorable mentions:
- Texas DOT’s FM-1960 Median Improvements Program
- New Jersey Local Technical Assistance Program’s Work Zone Safety Education Program.
You can read more details about each of the winners on the FHWA's safety awards page.
The practices that were recognized not only exemplify the strong commitment that these award winners have to saving lives, but also represent some of the most innovative and effective measures to improve our nation’s roadways, helping to bring our roadway fatalities to the lowest rate in more than 50 years.
It doesn’t always take big spending to find big solutions--the low-cost innovations used by some of this year’s honorees prove it. Creative solutions also have a snowball effect, as many of these practices are then applied by other states, localities and agencies to their own roads. That makes these award-winners even more important to our success in reducing deaths and injuries from traffic crashes.
Families are getting home safely in greater numbers than ever before, and we have this year’s nominees to thank. Congratulations to all of the 2011 National Roadway Safety Award nominees and winners.
Watch AASHTO TV on the Roadway Safety Awards