Knox County Sheriff asks for rumble strips to reduce fatal crashes

WALDOBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Road safety is on the minds of police officers in Knox and Lincoln counties, after yet another fatal, head-on accident on busy Route One.

The accident happened Friday afternoon in Waldoboro, when a car crossed the center line and smashed into another car going in the opposite direction. Two people in the second car died.The driver who crossed the line was hospitalized with what were described as non-life threatening injuries. On March 20, less than six miles away, a pickup truck crossed the center line on Route One n Warren, and killed the driver of an oncoming car. There have been several other, similar accidents on Route One in both towns in recent years.

As a result of the road's safety record, the Knox County Sheriff is asking the Maine DOT to install a center-line rumble strip in that area of Route One. The rumble strips are already in place on about forty miles of Maine roads, and the DOT says they have reduced the number of head-on crashes. MDOT safety specialist Duane Brunell says the roads that have the strips have experienced no fatal accidents since they were installed. The Federal Highway Administration reports that national studies show the strips reduce "crossover crashes" by 40% to 60%.

The Maine DOT says it doubled the mileage of center line rumble strips last year, when they were installed on three busy roads in York County. This year, the agency plans to install an additional 15 miles of strips on Route 202 in Lebanon and Winthrop. The DOT says it will study the request from Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison, but also says there is normally a public discussion process involved before new rumble strips are installed.

And while it may seem there are more and more "crossover" head-on crashes, the state says the number of fatal, head-on accidents has been fairly consistent the past five years. Here are the numbers for the past five years:

2009 29

2010 21

2011 25

2012 25

2013 31

The total number of fatal accidents has also stayed fairly steady, averaging 142 per year. In 2013, the total number actually declined, while the number of fatal head-on crashes increased.

Maine averages 28,800 total motor vehicle accidents per year, with 768 of those being head-on crashes.


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