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State highway safety program aims to bring awareness to roadway departure crashes

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 19:39:04-04

Louisiana's Strategic Highway Safety Program "Destination Zero Deaths" wants to bring awareness to roadway departure crashes.

According to the organization, from 2015 to 2019, over 50 percent of fatal crashes in Acadiana have roadway departure as at least one contributing factor.

A roadway departure crash is defined as a non-intersection crash which happens after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line.

"When we have a roadway departure, they're striking fixed objects - whether it's the curve or straightaway. Those fixed objects are frequently culverts, posts, trees, etc. The impact is sufficient and injuries are serious or fatal," explained Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition Coordinator Ron Czajkowski.

Acadiana officials have addressed the issue by programming safety projects and incorporating safety countermeasures into roadway projects. Projects are active in every parish in Acadiana to improve roadway striping, provide delineation around curves to enhance visibility, and integrating rumble strips into the edge and center of roadways to alert drivers that they're departing the travel lane.

There are simple steps everyone can take to reduce the number of these crashes:
· Drivers need to remember to always operate a motor vehicle sober.
· Do not allow for cell phones, electronics, or other distractions to take your eyes and hands off the wheel of the car.
· Flash flooding can cause cars to travel off the road and potentially cause a crash.When you are driving and encounter water on the road from a flash flood, remember to turn around and don't drown.

"Drivers need to stay alert at all times when operating a vehicle on the roadway," says Czajkowski. "Public works departments are doing their part to plan and build improvements to keep drivers on the road, but we would like to ask residents to help us lower our fatal crash numbers by not driving while impaired from alcohol or drugs or driving distracted. Distracted driving is now a major cause of roadway departure crashes, and we are asking everyone to do their part to ensure that all Acadiana residents arrive home safe to their families."

Find more information on the campaign here.

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