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Although only a quarter of the nation's population lives in rural areas, more than half of highway fatalities occur on rural roads.

The U.S. DOT is making $287 million available to revitalize a national strategy for reducing deaths on rural roads, which account for 57% of all fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Smarter, low-cost options—such as sign sheeting and pavement marking improvements as well as post-mounted delineators along curves—are readily available and can be deployed quickly,” says Deputy Secretary Admiral Thomas Barrett, who's leading the effort to help state and local managers eliminate the unique risks rural drivers face.

To that end, the Rural Safety Initiative addresses such issues as better-trained emergency responders as well as improved outreach and partnerships.

Of the more than three million miles of rural roads in the country, more than three-fourths are owned and operated by local entities.