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Entries in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (5)


Truck-Related Fatalities Continue to Decrease

Bill Messerschmidt
Manager, MSC 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a substantial decline during 2009 in the number of drivers and vehicle occupants who were killed or injured in crashes involving large trucks (i.e., trucks over 10,000 pounds).

Last month, NHTSA released an Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts, an annual publication containing a compilation of highway crash statistics. According to the Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts 2009, 3,380 drivers and occupants were killed in crashes with large trucks, and 74,000 drivers and occupants were injured.

These numbers seem large until one considers that the Federal Highway Administration has estimated that large trucks traveled a staggering 288 BILLION miles on US roadways during 2009. That equals a fatality rate of 1.17 persons killed per 100 million miles of truck travel, and 25.7 persons injured per 100 million miles.

In 2009, fatalities and injuries declined substantially from 2008, when NHTSA estimated that 4,245 people were killed and 90,000 were injured, and the fatality rate per hundred million miles was 1.37.

Check out NHTSA's Early Edition of Traffic Safety Facts 2009.

View the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's large truck crash statistics.


National Work Zone Awareness Week: April 4-8, 2011

Bill Messerschmidt
Manager, MSC 

This week, April 4-8, is National Work Zone Awareness Week. This event is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) each year for the purpose of increasing drivers' awareness of the dangers associated with highway work zones.

The theme of this year's event, "Whose Life is on the Line?" references the fact that almost 80% of the individuals killed in work zone crashes are motorists - not highway workers.

In 2009, there were 667 people killed in highway work zones and maintenance zones. This is a substantial decline since 2000, when 1,026 people were killed. To help keep these numbers on the decline, the National Work Zone Information Clearinghouse has created a comprehensive website with links to training, safety equipment, statistics, and regulations. The site is a valuable resource for contractors, workers, supervisors, and traffic planners.

The FHWA’s website contains a great deal of useful information on work zone safety, including tools for work zone management, process review, and performance metrics.


Good News: Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Fell to Lowest Levels in Reported History

Kelly Messerschmidt
Technical Communications Manager

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Friday that despite the fact that American drivers drove significantly more miles during 2010, the number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to their lowest levels in recorded history.

Factors that may have contributed to the reductions include:


MSC’s Ben Smith Attends National Crash Analysis Convention at The George Washington University

Washington, D.C. – MSC's Ben Smith is currently at the National Crash Analysis Convention, at the National Crash Analysis Center at the Virginia campus of The George Washington University. The conference lineup has included lectures and presentations on cutting-edge research being conducted at George Washington University and at the Federal Highway Administration research facility. The following list is a small sample of the presentations.

  • “Opportunities for Occupant Protection in Far Side Impacts,” by Dr. Kennerly H. Digges, Mr. Vinay Nagabushana
  • “Addressing Narrow Overlap Collisions: FLEE and FREE,” by Mr. Paul Scullion & Mr. Richard Morgan
  • “Review of High Speed Rear-End Vehicle-to-Vehicle Crash Test Data from previous tests conducted for the conference,” by Dr. Kennerly H. Digges, Mr. Shaun Kildare, Lawrence Wilson, & Wade Bartlett
  • “Guardrail Induced Rollover of Passenger Vehicles,” by Dr. Ken Opiela, Dr. Kennerly H. Digges, & Ms. Ana Eigen
  • “Roof Crush and Roof Strength Characteristics from JRS Rollover Testing,” by Dr. Kennerly H. Digges & Dr. Carl Nash

In addition to hearing excellent presentations, Ben had the opportunity to tour the Federal Highway Administration research facilities in Langley, Virginia, tour the research facilities at George Washington University, and take part in live crash testing at the Federal Outdoor Impact Facility. Ben, along with other conference attendees, was able to observe a full-scale crash test involving a vehicle rear-end crash and a concrete barrier crash.

Ben took the images below, which show the crash sequence in one of the test crashes.


FHWA Proposes Revisions to the MUTCD

On April 22, 2010, the Federal Register published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which were proposed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The MUTCD is the national standard for traffic control devices used on all publicly traveled roadways.

The proposed revision to the MUTCD will add standards, guidance, options, and support information on maintaining uniform minimum levels for retroreflectivity of pavement markings. (Such standards were put into place regarding minimum levels of retroreflectivity for roadway signs in 2007.)

The notice states that the proposed revisions will “promote safety, enhance traffic operations, and facilitate comfort and convenience for all drivers, including older drivers” by establishing a minimum standard for nighttime pavement marking performance. Read the notice.

The minimum standard proposed by the FHWA is based on their research on drivers' nighttime visibility needs. Comments on the proposed revisions are being accepted until August 20, 2010.

Learn more about nighttime visibility, retroreflective pavement markings, and related issues at the FHWA’s “Nighttime Visibility” website.