U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

ROADSIDE HAZARDS

NCJ Number
44261
Author(s)
N DARWICK; F D ROBERSON
Date Published
Unknown
Length
98 pages
Annotation
AN IDAHO DEMONSTRATION PROJECT EXAMINES THE FEASIBILITY AND UTILITY OF A PROGRAM IN WHICH POLICE ARE ENGAGED IN IDENTIFYING AND REPORTING ROADSIDE HAZARDS.
Abstract
HIGHWAY DISTRICT 2 IN THE STATE OF IDAHO WAS SELECTED AS THE PROJECT SITE. WITH THE COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE OF THE IDAHO STATE POLICE AND DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS, HAZARD REPORTING FORMS AND PROCEDURES WERE DEVELOPED, AND THE OFFICERS IN THE PROJECT DISTRICT WERE APPROPRIATELY TRAINED. FIELD REPORTING WAS THEN CARRIED OUT INTERMITTENTLY BY THE OFFICERS FOR A PERIOD OF 9 MONTHS. THE POLICE CANVASSED MORE THAN 700 MILES OF INTERSTATE, FEDERAL-AID, AND STATE HIGHWAYS, WITH OVER 4,000 PROBABLE ROADSIDE HAZARDS IDENTIFIED. REPORTS OF THE IDENTIFIED HAZARDS WERE FORWARDED TO THE IDAHO DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS WHICH REVIEWED THE REPORTED HAZARDS FOR ACCURACY OF REPORTING, ASSIGNED CORRECTIVE ACTIONS WITH ESTIMATED COSTS, AND COMPILED THIS INFORMATION INTO AN INVENTORY. SOME OF THE MAJOR FINDINGS INDICATE THAT POLICE ARE CAPABLE OF IDENTIFYING AND REPORTING ROADSIDE HAZARDS AND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR SUCH UNDERTAKINGS, AT LEAST AS AN AUXILIARY TO STATE HIGHWAY AGENCIES IN REPORTING NEW HAZARDS AND THOSE REQUIRING IMMEDIATE REMEDIAL ACTION. A STATE HIGHWAY AGENCY CAN COMPILE A ROADSIDE HAZARD INVENTORY USING DATA PROVIDED BY POLICE PERSONNEL. THE IDAHO STATE DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS, AS A RESULT OF THIS PROJECT, HAS TAKEN SOME POSITIVE STEPS TOWARD THE ELIMINATION OF ROADSIDE HAZARDS IN THE PROJECT DISTRICT. POLICE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT STATED THAT THEY HAVE BECOME MORE SENSITIVE TO THE NEGATIVE ROLE OF ROADSIDE HAZARDS IN HIGHWAY CRASHES. IN CONTRAST, AT THE START OF THE PROJECT, MANY OFFICERS COULD NOT ADEQUATELY DEFINE A ROADSIDE HAZARD. OTHER THAN THE DIVERSION OF MANPOWER AND FUNDS FROM OTHER POLICE AND HIGHWAY ACTIVITIES, NO ACTUAL INCREASE IN MANPOWER AND FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS ON THE PART OF STATE POLICE OR HIGHWAY AGENCIES WAS ANTICIPATED OR REQUIRED IN HIS PROJECT. IT WAS THE ADVICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE IDAHO STATE DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS THAT A POLICE ROADSIDE HAZARD IDENTIFICATION AND REPORTING PROGRAM WOULD NOT POSE ANY ADDITIONAL LEGAL LIABILITY FOR THE STATE, BUT ACTUALLY WOULD PLACE THE STATE IN A FAVORABLE LEGAL POSITION. SUPPORTING MATERIALS ARE APPENDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED).