50 crashes have occurred on same stretch of Hwy 99. Can we make it safer?
The Oregon Department of Transportation is looking at how to make rural roads safer.
According to a recent 10-year report, 50 crashes have occurred on the same stretch of Highway 99 that killed 3 people last week.
According to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, the fatality rate for motorists across the US is 2 times greater in rural areas – areas like the stretch of Hwy 99N where 3 Junction City women recently died in a crash.
We spoke with representatives at ODOT to see why those roads are so dangerous.
“One short distraction and you can lose control of your vehicle and be in an unrecoverable situation,” explains ODOT’s David House.
Officials say in this most recent crash, the car went into the opposite lane for unknown reasons – and it’s still under investigation.
“You lose control of your vehicle, you’re swerving to avoid an object, or, unfortunately, some people are attempting to pass on highways where they shouldn’t.”
However, according to past data, ODOT says that similar accidents that end in this manner can be the result of excessive speed.
“You make a mistake at higher speeds that both the reaction time are lower, and the consequences are much more severe.”
Other potential problems are distracted and impaired driving along with bad weather and wildlife.
And while Oregon does have a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour on rural roads, “you can be in violation of the law if going the posted speed limit in one of those conditions.”
As for possible solutions, they are still processing data and determining the best course of action, but “every time you go out, it’s a little different, so drive the way that’s safe for what you face right in this moment.”
According to a 2020 study by TRIP, Oregon has the second highest fatality rate on rural roads in the nation.
In 2019, ODOT reported an over 6% fatal and injury casualty rate on the rural highway system.
See the full, original post here: https://nbc16.com/news/local/50-crashes-have-occurred-on-same-stretch-of-hwy-99-can-we-make-it-safer
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