BERWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In an effort to reduce the number of head-on crashes on some of Maine's most dangerous roads, the Department of Transportation will soon be installing centerline rumble strips.
While rumble strips have been a fixture on the state's interstate highways and turnpike, those run along side the lanes of travel and seek to alert motorists who may have fallen asleep behind the wheel, the new centerline rumble strips divide the lanes of travel and will alert drivers if they drift out of their lane.
"We have a safety problem," stated Duane Brunell, safety manager for the Maine DOT. "Head-on crashes are the most devastating type of crashes out there."
Brunell says the state has experimented with centerline rumble strips in a few select locations - Route 4 in Turner and Route 1 in Woolwich -and says the results have been impressive.
"In Maine, we have had two corridors that have had rumble strips since 2006," he explained. "On those two corridors previously, prior to 2006 over a 5 or 6 year period, we had seven fatalities on those corridors. Really, mostly head-on related. Since then, there have not been any fatal head-on collisions."
He says national studies done on centerline rumble strips show reductions in head-on crashes ranging from 40 to 60%.
"It is really more for the distracted driver issue," added Brunell. "With distracted driving, this feel from the rumble immediately signals to the driver that they need to correct course."
The centerline rumble strips will be added along Route 4 between Berwick and Sanford and on Route 111 between Sanford and Biddeford in the coming weeks.