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Safety Edge

Case Study

Iowa Adopts Standard Policy

A national study (funded by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the FHWA) found that as many as 18 percent of rural run-off-road crashes in Iowa on paved roadways with unpaved shoulders may have been at least partially caused by the pavement edge. This type of crash was four times more likely to include a fatality than other crashes on similar roads. The Division Safety Engineer began to work with counties to install the Safety EdgeSM on projects with a history of roadway departure crashes. The FHWA loaned a commercially available shoe to County Engineers for use on their resurfacing projects. The Safety EdgeSM was included in the project plans or change-ordered on projects already let. During one of these projects, the contractor's Safety Officer became very enthusiastic about the result, as it reduced their liability by providing immediate elimination of the vertical drop-off. After seeing how easily even large vehicles could traverse the edge without loss of control or damaging the edge, they decided their typical practice of bringing in a gravel wedge before nightfall was not necessary when the Safety EdgeSM was present. With this success, the Division (with the support of the contractor) convinced the State DOT to use the device on one of their paving projects on a narrow road which had drop-offs as high as 4 inches. Since then, the DOT has decided to adopt the Safety EdgeSM as standard practice across the State.

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Page last modified on May 18, 2012.
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000