DOT: Center line rumble strips could prevent crashes

5:46 PM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
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WOOLWICH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Could some very basic technology help make Maine roads safer and save lives? Last year, 25 people died in head-on crashes, where one car crossed the center line and hit another.

So far this year, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, 14 fatalities have been caused by head-on collisions.

There are many reasons for accidents of course. But the Bureau of Highway safety and the Maine DOT say many of those crashes, when a car crosses the center line, are caused by some form of inattention. And they say one defense against the pro.

The stripes are similar to the familiar rumble strips in breakdown lanes of the Turnpike and interstate highways. They make a lot of noise and cause the steering wheel to vibrate.

"A wakeup call for drivers", is how Duane Brunell of the Maine DOT describes center line rumble strips. The MDOT installed a strip on several miles of Route One in Woolwich in 2006, after a series of fatal accidents on that stretch of road. Brunell says since the strips went in six years ago, there have been no fatal accidents on that road. The MDOT also has center line strips on sections of Route 4 in Turner, Route 1A in Dedham, Route 3 in Turner, and Route 9, the so-called "Airline" east of Amherst.

No strips are being installed this year, but Brunelle says the MDOT is working on plans for next year. He says it costs about eight thousand dollars a mile to install the rumble strips.

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