To the Editor:
There is a proven track record in the states of Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Washington where center rumble strips have served extensively for more than four years, preventing almost half of all head-on collision fatalities that would have happened in that time.
Being skeptical like Mr. Hagget at the thought of engraving notches in our roads, I went out along route 68 and carefully studied the dimensions of the notches, finding they are spaced about 24 inches apart on center, each notch being shaped like a dish rather than cut with vertical walls – their dimensions being about twelve inches wide and five inches long in the direction of travel.
A money-saving advantage in addition to lives saved is that the painted lines on the rumbles show up better in bad weather conditions and are more durable as well because vehicle tires glide over the far wall of the notch
The fact that the notches are dish-shaped means they will not stress the pavement when water lying in the notches freezes-- well proven in the studies made through several years in the other states.
We must consider the expense of a single fatality-- possibly $200,000 in life insurance, possible dysfunctional families result when a parent/provider is lost, possible countless dollars for social assistance for the children, a tragic heartbreak for friends and relatives that never ends... everyone I know in the north country has lost a friend or relative in a highway crash.
We are engaged in a war against highway deaths similar to the war on terrorism and the amazing irony is that we spend $50 billion per year combating terrorists while spending less than $5 billion on improving highway safety - yet we have no predictable terror deaths in sight while we know at least thirty thousand people will brutally have their lives ended in the next twelve months on our highways.
Priorities are sadly reversed here and must be reconsidered. A horrific fact is that since Sept. 11 we have lost more that 350,000 people on our highways and less than a dozen through terrorism. Since 1900 we have suffered almost 4 million highway fatalities. This is the outright staggering reality. This self-imposed slaughter that can and must be countered with thought, emphasis and money.
In the meantime until we can allocate money for major improvements like center guardrails we must install the center rumble sound strips everywhere possible (at twenty-two cents per foot) with the guarantee of saving thousands of lives yearly and incalculable amounts of money.
Richard Carlisle, Waddington