Benicia Highway Infrastructure Changes

File:Round Botts' Dot.jpg

Benicia Highway Infrastructure Changes

I’m Ed Smith, a Benicia CA car accident lawyer. Residents of Benicia may soon notice changes to local highways, as CalTrans has officially decided to phase out the white ceramic pavement markers called Botts’ Dots.

Botts’ Dots

Botts’ Dots have been in use on California Highways for over five decades. The small bumps in the road have consistently let drivers know when they are drifting out of their lane and, with more than 20 million in use across the state, have helped prevent many devastating car accidents.

The dots were invented in a Sacramento lab by Caltrans chemist and San Jose University instructor Elbert Botts and were first tested in 1966 on Highway Interstate 80 near Vacaville as well as Highway 99 near Fresno. However, new federal standards have caused all but four states to phase the devices out, and California is next on the list.

New Method

CalTrans has worked with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in order to envision new ways of improving road safety. This research has led to Caltrans deciding to replace Botts’ Dots with thermoplastic lane lines. These highway devices look like paint lines but are actually thick plastic strips melted to the highway. The material, CalTrans officials noted, is more reflective and durable than paint.

The thermoplastic markers are also more efficiently seen by self-driving vehicles, a technology CalTrans officials expect to see more of in coming years. In order to improve the performance and safety of these vehicles and those who drive near them, Caltrans is not only implementing thermoplastic markers but is also widening the typical four-inch-wide highway strip marker to six inches.

Dot Problems

Caltrans has reportedly received over 70 complaints so far about their decision to phase the popular safety devices out. Reportedly, the complaints often indicate that the dots are a good way to alert drivers who may not be paying attention. However, after a six-year study, Caltrans’ data shows that auto accident rates aren’t significantly affected by switching the dots with an alternative. 

Another factor is the lifespan of the pavement markers- dots tend to break every six months or so. Caltrans workers often have to close down lanes of traffic in order to replace the dots. Doing so can be dangerous for workers, as evidenced by an incident that occurred in 2015 in which two Caltrans road workers were injured while replacing worn-out dots on a Bay Area freeway.

The new markings are expected to reduce the amount of time workers spend maintaining roads, cost 6 dollars less per 60 feet of road, and reflect light brighter than Botts’ Dots, which, although white and ceramic, are not technically classified as reflective.

Related content by Benicia Car Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith:

Benicia CA Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Benicia CA car accident lawyer. Being involved in a crash can leave you with serious injuries. If you or someone you love has been significantly harmed in a collision, contact me at (707) 564-1900 for friendly advice at no charge. Those outside the calling area can use (800) 404-5400 or contact me online here.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, “Round Botts’ Dot” by  Bidgee. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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