The Federal Highway Administration strives to make our roads safer. This latest Clark and Steinhorn series examines how.

Yesterday, Clark and Steinhorn examined the Federal Highway Administration's efforts to reduce death and injuries on our roadways.

Today we will look at so-called crashworthy hardware. What is it you ask? Well, the official definition is not of much descriptive help, which is to say that the National Cooperative Highway Research Program approved hardware means nothing to us.

Essentially the items are barriers and railings which enhance safety in the event of a crash or collision with them.

As an example, guardrails and bridge railings which keep vehicles on the bridge and upright can save many lives. See

A slightly different concept is that of breakaway hardware. Instead of being designed not to break in the event of a collision, these items such as sign-posts, call-boxes and sign supports, intentionally break upon impact in order to reduce injury.

Another realm of  crashworthy items of great importance are associated with work-zones. At Clark and Steinhorn, we see many deadly and severely injurious work-zone car and truck crashes. FHWA's efforts to reduce the damage from work-zone crashes include increased use of crash-worthy channelizers, signs, barricades and barriers.

Breakaway mailboxes are also important as their ubiquity ensures members of the public strike them regularly.

The FHWA is hard at work on improving public roadway safety and we will look tomorrow at another chapter. For more see: