JEFFERSON CITY – That rumble you’re hearing while driving down Missouri highways isn’t your stomach – it’s a rumble stripe and it’s keeping more Missourians alive. Up to 100 lives a year are saved on major roads by rumble stripes and bigger, brighter signs; wider stripes; and other visibility improvements made by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Improved roadway visibility reduced lane departure fatalities by 40 percent since 2005, helping Missouri traffic deaths fall to their lowest point since 1949. Even with improvements, 818 people still died on the state’s highways in 2010 and nearly 6,000 were seriously injured.
“While we’ve made great strides, in reality, we’ve only made these improvements to a few thousand miles, and we have more than 33,000 miles in our system,” said Don Hillis, MoDOT’s Director of System Management. “More investment in transportation is needed to help drive fatalities and disabling injuries down even more.”
In 2005, Missouri had more than 400 lane departure fatalities. By 2010, that number was down below 250. When drivers stray from the travel lane, rumble stripes/strips rouse their attention to allow a safe recovery. Rumble stripes also are helpful in alerting drivers to the lane limits where weather conditions reduce driver visibility.
These and other efforts have made transportation safer in Missouri, but there’s still work to do. Funding for MoDOT’s construction program has been cut in half, and Missouri stands to lose the progress that’s been made. Without adequate investments, future improvements are in jeopardy, placing safety, jobs, mobility and the state’s economy at risk. Transportation is personal. It’s time to find a new, dedicated funding source for transportation so we can continue to save lives, support jobs, provide better transportation options and attract businesses and tourists to our state. For more information, visit www.modot.org.