From the Desk of Seth Chalmers: High-Risk Rural Roads

Posted on July 10, 2012


According to the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, rural roads account for only 40 percent of miles traveled, but an inordinate 57 percent of all highway fatalities.

The rate of fatalities for crashes on rural roads is more than double the rate for urban areas. University of California’s Institute of Traffic Studies notes that the high fatality rate is attributed to a number of factors, including poor road conditions, driving at high speeds, use of alcohol, and lack of access to emergency services.

Rural road safety is a critical issue for Arizona and other states around the country, but highway departments in rural areas often lack the manpower and resources to address serious safety issues.

Various federal and state programs, including the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and Arizona’s High Risk Rural Roads Program (HRRRP), seek to improve the quality and safety of rural roads. HRRRP has set aside funds for improvements, which are ongoing.

As President and owner of Chalmers Engineering Services in Tempe, Arizona, Seth Chalmers brings more than 25 years of experience to bear on a range of engineering projects in the Phoenix area. Chalmers is also responsible for management of several high-risk rural road projects for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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