Roadway Safety Engineering Highlighted at Distracted Driving Conference

[Washington, DC] — The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) is pleased to exhibit materials at the second national U.S Department of Transportation Distracted Driving Summit highlighting road engineering enhancements that are critical to curbing the crashes, injuries, and deaths associated with distracted driving.

Many states have taken a lead in creating legislation that restricts or prohibits driver use of handheld cell phones and other mobile devices. Even the toughest of these laws, however, can’t be guaranteed to stop driver inattentiveness all the time. The Roadway Safety Foundation – whose mission is to reduce highway fatalities by advocating for physical improvements to America’s roadways – therefore promotes the implementation of crash countermeasures such as rumble strips, median and roadside barriers, and bright signs and lane markings that can serve as the last line of defense for drivers who get distracted or make other critical mistakes.

To highlight the lifesaving benefits of installing rumble strips – grooves or raised bumps on the pavement along the shoulder or centerline that alert drivers of an imminent lane departure – RSF partnered with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to create Recognize, React, Recover: Using Rumble strips to prevent run-off-the-road crashes. This campaign includes a half-hour DVD that educates motorists about the importance of rumble strips – which can reduce run-off-the-road crashes by up to 80 percent – and provides instructions on how to react properly to a rumble strip to avoid a crash. A corresponding brochure details real-life stories of crash victims introduced in the DVD, and provides crucial tips and reminders for drivers.

“Single vehicle, run-of-the-road crashes are the most common fatal crash type, and are particularly disastrous in rural areas,” said RSF Executive Director Greg Cohen. “Distracted drivers are at a much higher risk of running off the road, but the noise and vibration caused by a rumble strip provide immediate feedback to motorists, giving them an opportunity to recover before it’s too late.”

In the event that a distracted driver loses control and his or her vehicle does run off the road, having an effective barrier system in place can be critical for mitigating the severity of the crash. Cable, concrete, and other modern barriers, as well as clear roadsides and elimination of pavement drop-offs at the road edge, are smart road investments that save lives. These devices allow people to walk away from a crash instead of being killed or seriously injured. When used in the median of a divided roadway, barriers prevent severe, frequently fatal, head-on collisions that result from vehicles crossing into oncoming traffic.

“Distracted drivers are people who make mistakes. We all can relate to this. We must do everything we can to improve behavior through education and enforcement. But we also need to make our roads more forgiving of the mistakes that inevitably come. Distracted driving and its disastrous impact must be combated comprehensively through collaboration between organizations working across the three fields of highway safety – vehicles, drivers, and roadways,” Cohen said. “We’re here to share important materials regarding the crucial role that safe, well-engineered roadways can play in protecting distracted and attentive drivers alike, and are pleased to be a part of such a vital effort.”

The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization.  For additional information please visit