Guardrail and Barriers

Guardrail and Barriers

 

Guardrail

Roadway departure (RwD) crashes account for more than 50 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. There are a number of reasons a driver may leave the travel lane (e.g., an avoidance maneuver, inattention or fatigue, or traveling too fast for weather or geometric conditions). Over the past few decades, different engineering countermeasures have been proposed, implemented, and tested by various state and local agencies to mitigate RwD crashes. Improving median or roadside barrier design is one of the most effective countermeasures available to reduce RwD fatal crashes.

 

These devices suffered damage to their reputation as life savers because of some isolated unfortunate incidents, however the safety benefits beyond any doubt have been proven by numerous research studies. At this juncture, the life-saving qualities of roadside guardrails and median barriers need to be underscored.

 

ATSSA has a committee dedicated to the advancement of guardrails. The association’s Guardrail Committee (member login required) works to preserve funding through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a federal program which dedicates funds to infrastructure safety, promote a fully funded Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and other funding opportunities, work with ATSSA chapters and members to develop and deliver government relations services at the state level, and encourage members to utilize these services, and educate the administration on roadway safety infrastructure.

Resources

Guardrails prove effective countermeasures to RwD crashes

Research shows median and roadside devices provide safety benefits to roadway users

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Though they may be overlooked, guardrails are important countermeasures to mitigating fatalities and injuries that result from roadway departure (RwD) crashes, which account for more than 50 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities.

Median and roadside guardrails: An essential and effective countermeasure for RwD crashes

Research and studies show how devices are important components of integrated traffic safety system

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The guardrail did exactly what it was designed to do: The guardrail’s end terminal absorbed the energy of the impact and deflected the guardrail away from the vehicle.

Congressman saved by median barrier in Tennessee after roadway departure crash

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There are also countless stories from people whose lives have been saved by a median cable barrier or roadside guardrail like Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., whose life was positively impacted by the lifesaving presence of a guardrail during a serious crash in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Oct. 23, 2009.

Guardrail Summation - Toward Zero Deaths

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Over the years, ATSSA has demonstrated that the installation or upgrade of roadway safety features – many of them available at low-cost – can provide immediate and substantial safety benefits for all. The expertise, knowledge and experience of ATSSA members are in the development and installation of traffic control devices and roadside safety features that make the roadway safer and more forgiving for all users of the roadway system. This document (in large part) focuses on the policies and practices needed to move America Toward Zero Deaths (TZD).

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