Research important to drive for Zero Deaths

Brent Jennings, PE
Highway Safety Manager

Research plays a very important role and without it our standard of living would probably not improve very much. The type of research most think about is in the medical field. The advancement of medical science is astounding. Recently my 80 year old mother had a hip replaced and she is doing great. This type of procedure was not on the radar until fairly recently and it was research that brought this as a huge benefit to the quality of her life.

I believe the same can be said for the highway safety industry. One area that comes to mind is work zone safety. I remember growing up and the barricades consisted of a simple wooden “saw horse” with some type of light that may or may not be working. Hit this with your vehicle and the barricade may severely injury or even kill you. Today lanes are delineated with highly reflectivity and traffic control devices are designed to withstand vehicular hits that minimizes injury or death to vehicular occupants. This is all a result of research which started with a good idea.

At the Idaho Transportation Department a highway research program exists and more projects regarding highway safety are being addressed. Some of the highway safety research projects under way are:

  • Improving Emergency Responses to Motor Vehicle Crashes: Field Test and Evaluation of the CrashHelp System in Idaho
  • Media Messages and Tools to Reduce Fatalities and Serious Injuries from Single Vehicle Run-off-the-Road Crashes
  • Improving Safety at Signalized Intersections During Inclement Weather Conditions - A Real-Time Weather-Responsive System
  • Implementation of the Highway Safety Manual Pooled Fund
  • Potential Crash Reduction Benefits of Safety Improvement Projects – Part A: Shoulder Rumble Strips
  • Potential Crash Reduction Benefits of Safety Improvement Projects – Part B- Crash Counter Measure

In the coming weeks the Office of Highway Safety will have the opportunity to pursue funding for additional highway safety research projects. Our office will entertain any ideas you might have for highway safety research. If you have an idea for highway safety research that you believe might have merit, please contact me.

Indeed, research improves the quality of our lives. Highway safety research plays an important role in our journey Toward Zero Deaths on all of Idaho’s roadways.

See Quick Notes for more Highway Safety information.

Published 1-27-2012