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Fiery Crash Ignites Call For Rumble Strips In Warren County

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WARREN COUNTY, N.C. — Studies have shown that rumble strips cut the risk of drivers running off the road and crashing their vehicles.

In fact, rumble strips are one of the cheapest safety features on the road. A fiery crash over the weekend has people calling for more rumble strips on a stretch of road known for sleepy drivers.

"The Highway Patrol would like to see them everywhere," said Everett Clendinen of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The flames from a wrecked gasoline tanker lit up the sky over Warren County early Sunday morning. They also renewed a call for more rumble strips on highways to try to avoid accidents like Sunday's.

Sleepy drivers, or those not paying attention to their driving, get a loud vibrating sound when tires touch the rumble strips. A section of I-85 in Mecklenburg County, Va., has the strips. But the strips stop at the North Carolina state line.

When driving on I-85 into North Carolina, you go through two counties before seeing rumble strips again. Sunday's crash happened in Warren County -- one of the rumble-less counties.

Driver Jarvis Epps apparently fell asleep at the wheel. His tanker ran off the road, struck a tree and burst into flames. Luckily, he survived.

Monday, there was a huge black hole beside the interstate as a reminder of the crash.

Although rumble strips are an extra safety feature, they are not a cure-all. Clendinen pointed out that, after all, drivers are responsible for their own actions.

Nevertheless, Sunday's crash has re-ignited calls for more rumble strips to keep tired drivers on the road and out of trouble.

The Department of Transportation is revising its policy to add more rumble strips to state highways. DOT officials said the strips usually are installed as part of asphalt-improvement projects.

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