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Washington Division

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Safety Program


The purpose of the Washington Division Office safety function is to improve highway safety; the promotion, coordination and transfer of safety technology; and good practices along with oversight of the various safety programs.This function is directly aligned to support the agency’s strategic goal on safety.


Don Petersen
Division Safety Engineer

Roadway safety in Washington State:

Typically, the State ranks well in terms of overall roadway safety. Our fatality rate for 2009, or number of roadway fatalities per 100 Million vehicle-miles-traveled, is below the national average at 0.87(the national average is 1.13). The number of roadway fatalities in 2009 was 492 or about 14% less than the previous 3-year average. Seatbelt use in the State remains among the highest in the nation at 96% (2009). The state is proactive when it comes to addressing safety issues on the roadway. Installation of rumble strips, shoulder and centerline, and median cable guard rail are examples counter measures they are implementing. However; there are concerns a well. Safety on two-lane rural roads is an on-going problem across the nation as it is in Washington State. The Division Office and State are cooperating in a focused effort to address this problem.

FHWA Highway Safety Program:

Based on crash statistics, the FHWA has initiated a focused approach based upon identified key vital areas. Washington State has been identified as a “Focus State” in the Focus Area of Roadway Departure. These areas include improving strategic safety management, and reducing the number of roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian/bicycle fatalities and crashes. Links to these vital areas are provided below:

Roadway Departure:

These consist of head-on, side-swipe, and run-off-road crashes: Suggested sites for countermeasures that may affect these crash types include:

Intersection Safety

Pedestrian / Bicycle Safety

The FHWA Headquarters Office of Highway Safety provides program and policy leadership for the agency.

Safety Research at the Turner Fairbanks Highway Research Center

The 2009 MUTCD

Washington State Safety Links

Other Safety Related Links

Page last modified on April 1, 2013.
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