Rumble strips: making a difference on Nebraska roads?

| 12/27/2001

Officials in Nebraska are beginning to think a state project of laying rumble strips along Interstate 80 from border to border is starting to show a difference in accident statistics. Fatigue-related accidents in Nebraska dropped from 565 in 1998 - the year before the interstate rumble-strip project began - to 488 last year, according to the Nebraska State Office of Highway Safety.

State Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek reportedly said he believes the strips could be helping. "It (the strips) certainly could be playing a part," he said. More time is needed to prove a trend, but Zwonechek said he has seen the strips make a difference to other drivers when he has been on the road.

The rapid thumping noise made by the strips have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of motorists driving off the road due to fatigue. According to the (Lincoln) Journal Star, the project began in 1999, but rumble strips have a longer history in Nebraska. They have been included on four-lane expressways since the Legislature created the classification in 1988. Department of Roads officials say the program is worthwhile and are making plans to include rumble strips on the other 600 miles of designated expressways in the state.

The rumble strip projects are scheduled for completion in 2012, with plans subject to change. Plans call for workers to begin grinding them into the shoulders of existing roadways in 2003.