First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
Road authorities and safety specialists worldwide recognise that the most dangerous part of a longitudinal barrier is the end. A crashworthy end treatment must be able to act both as a redirecting anchor and an impact cushion to errant motorists.
The highway safety community has responded to this engineering challenge through continuous investment in innovation over the past 50 years. The resulting “crashworthy” terminals commercially available today reduce the deceleration and avoid ramping, rolling or pitching, and in many cases, avert serious injuries and death. The continued presence of obsolete forms of terminal treatment, including “Fishtails”, “Spoons” and “Turned-Down Ends” should be a concern to road authorities everywhere. Too often design engineers simply look at the previous project and use the same drawings for the new project, sometimes with disastrous consequences for road users.
The Transportation Research Board
’s Roadside Safety Design Subcommittee on International Research has declared that obsolete and ineffective end treatments have no place on our roads. The International Road Federation
is now calling for the formal prohibition and phasing out of “Turned Down Ends”, “Fishtails” and “Spoons” and has announced stepped up efforts to educate the international road community to this unacceptable threat throughout 2012.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, IRF executive vice president and TRB Roadside Safety Design Subcommittee co-chair Mike Dreznes noted: “the UN
has declared a Decade of Action to reduce by 50% the projected increase in road traffic deaths. This Decade of Action for Road Safety
must also be a Decade of Change for highway engineering practices. With road safety events planned across seven countries in 2012, IRF is spearheading this change”.