Southeastern United States fatal crash study
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Southeastern United States fatal crash study

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  • Abstract:
    A significant safety issue in the United States is the substantial number of vehicle related crashes. The number of fatal

    crashes in the southeastern portion of the U.S. (States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North

    Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) is disproportionately higher than those for the entire country. In general, the

    eight states collectively report approximately 26-percent of the total annual number of fatal automobile-related crashes in

    the U.S. On average, the southeastern states experience an additional 30 fatalities per million vehicle miles traveled than

    the U.S. average. The Federal Highway Administration and the eight southeastern states initiated a joint research effort

    for the region to study this observed over-representation of fatal crashes.

    Findings of the study suggest that improved features such as widening shoulders, enhancing delineation, and protecting

    the clear zone would substantially reduce these fatal crashes. Some of the researchers recommended that additional

    procedures and policies may be an appropriate countermeasure for wide-scale improvements. Countermeasures (physical

    as well as political) were explicitly recommended to address two-lane rural roads, safety restraint use and fixed-object


    A supplemental finding was the presence of extensive pavement edge drop-offs for fatal crash sites in at least two of

    the participating states. As this observation occurred as a result of field inspection and was not initially identified as a

    target problem, it was not studied in great detail for this research effort but merits special comment since it is potentially a

    significant finding of the study.

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