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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:

WSDOT's highway safety program is driven by their Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Target Zero. The goal of Target Zero is zero fatal and serious injury collisions by 2030. Typically, Washington ranks well in terms of overall roadway safety. Our fatality rate for 2014, or number of roadway fatalities per 100 Million vehicle-miles-traveled, is below the national average at 0.79 (the national average is 1.08). The number of roadway fatalities in 2014 was 462 or about 7.8% less than the previous 5-year rolling average. Seatbelt use in the State remains among the highest in the nation at 94.6% (2014). The state is proactive when it comes to addressing safety issues on the roadway. Installation of rumble strips, shoulder and centerline, median cable guard rail, and roundabouts are examples counter measures. While improvements are being made, WSDOT continues its efforts to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions.

FHWA Highway Safety Program:

Based on crash statistics, the FHWA initiated a focused approach based upon identified key vital areas. Initially Washington State was identified as a "Focus State" for Roadway Departure crashes; however, since WSDOT's implementation of roadway departure countermeasures they are no longer a Focus State. The key vital 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.

FHWA Research

Traffic Control Devices

Washington State Safety Links

Page last modified on November 2, 2016
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000