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FHWA Recognizes Outstanding Roadway Safety Projects

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

FHWA Recognizes Outstanding Roadway Safety Projects

Federal Highway Administration
November 8, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, November 8, 1998
Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 52-98

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the winners of the 1998 FHWA Administrator’s Biennial Safety Awards competition. The competition is conducted biennially to honor outstanding achievements in producing a safer roadway environment.

"Safety is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority, and improving the safety of our nation’s roadways helps meet that goal," Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "By recognizing outstanding state and local safety achievements, we have the opportunity to formally thank our partners and stakeholders for their contributions."

The winners were announced in a ceremony held in conjunction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials meeting in Boston. The winners are:

Best Overall Commercial Vehicle Safety Award: New York State Department of Transportation.

Best Overall Operational Improvements Award: Georgia Utilities Coordinating Council.

Safety Improvements Award: California Department of Transportation, District 5.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Improvements Award: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Drive Smart Virginia, Chesterfield County School Systems, and the Virginia Trucking Association.

Operational Improvements—Most Resourceful in Engineering Award: California Department of Transportation, District 7.

Operational Improvements—Most Effective Use of Enforcement Award: South Dakota Department of Transportation.

Program Planning, Development and Evaluation Award: AAA Michigan.

Program Planning, Development and Evaluation Award: Lincoln, Neb., Public Works Department,

Traffic Safety Section.

The Best Overall Commercial Vehicle Safety Award was based on the submission of a comprehensive New York State Intelligent Transportation System Commercial Vehicle Operations (ITS/CVO) business plan. The plan, created by five New York state agencies that make up the Interagency Motor Carrier Credential and Safety Task Force, describes statewide and multi-state commercial vehicle operational and safety improvements being implemented in New York. It also describes project initiatives and deployment strategies from now until the year 2000. Many of the strategies and technologies included in this plan allow interoperability of commercial vehicle enforcement operations, not only within New York but with other states via laptop computer.

The Best Overall Operational Improvements Award recognizes the Georgia Utilities Coordinating Council’s efforts to address and resolve problems associated with above ground utilities within the public right-of-way. Recognizing that a roadside hazard problem existed in Georgia, the council formed a panel of representatives from Georgia DOT and the private sector. The panel developed a policy on preferred and minimum setbacks for utility facilities based on speeds of the roadway. Relocation and mitigation plans were developed for moving the most hazardous pole locations using accident data. Implementation began in 1996.

The Safety Improvement Award recognizes Caltrans District 5 for the SR 41/46 Project along the 23-mile segment between Paso Robles and the eastern junction of Route 41/46 in San Luis Obispo County. This demonstration project involved constructing a soft barrier and use of rumble strips to increase the visibility of road striping and to alert motorists when they drift across the centerline or onto the shoulders. In the 16 months since the project was completed, no fatal accidents have occurred. The project has also reduced the injury accidents by 14 percent and total collisions by 27 percent. District 5 used state funds to expedite the project, with the improvements completed more than two years earlier than had been expected.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Improvements Award recognizes the cooperative effort of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Drive Smart Virginia, Chesterfield County school systems, and the Virginia Trucking Association for developing the "Don’t Hang Out in the No-Zone" Program and educating motorists on commercial vehicle limitations. Virginia’s "Don’t Hang Out in the No Zone" Program was developed in 1996 to alert the general public about the dangers of driving in the No Zone--the five blind spots surrounding a tractor trailer. Their main goal is to educate motorists in an entertaining manner while making them aware of commercial vehicle limitations.

The Operational Improvements--Most Resourceful in Engineering Award recognizes Caltrans District 7 for converting a 61-year-old, high-accident Long Beach Traffic Circle into a modern roundabout and reducing associated crashes. The objective was to improve the operation of a traffic circle that had been repeatedly identified as a high accident concentration location. Since the project’s completion, motorist delays have been reduced, the annual number and severity of accidents has declined, and motorist complaints have virtually disappeared.

The Operational Improvements: Most Effective Use of Enforcement award recognizes South Dakota DOT’s program for speed enforcement in construction work zones. The program employs speed enforcement personnel and marked enforcement vehicles for enforcing speed limits in manned construction work areas. A state law that took effect on July 1, 1997, gave DOT employees authority to stop and ticket anyone who exceeded the speed limits in construction zones where workers were present. Officers made almost 2,000 stops in construction zones in 1997. Statistics show that construction zone traffic-related fatalities were eliminated, while injuries were reduced by 31 percent and speed-related accidents by 29 percent.

The Program Planning, Development and Evaluation Award recognizes AAA Michigan for developing an innovative roadway improvement strategy in which private dollars are contributed toward road improvements at targeted high-crash locations in Detroit and Grand Rapids. The goal is to reduce crashes and injuries in Michigan’s two biggest urban areas. In addition to these cities, partners include Wayne State University, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and local metropolitan planning organizations.

The Program Planning, Development and Evaluation Award recognizes the use of video camera technology in evaluating the effectiveness of Lincoln’s March 1997 Red Light Running (RLR) Campaign. Among the 32 communities selected to participate in the campaign, only Lincoln used video camera technology. Surveys also were conducted to assess driver attitudes toward RLR. Among data reported, the average entry time of vehicles into intersections after the yellow light—as well as the average number of vehicles entering on the yellow and red lights—decreased significantly. Drivers’ awareness of the hazards associated with RLR also improved, which may reduce the number of crashes associated with RLR.

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